Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Future foodies: Aspiring chefs get real world view

By
February 14, 2011 |

A group of Davis High School students interested in culinary careers got a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant life last week, something the counselor who arranged the visit hopes will help them as they plan their futures.

“We focus so much on college,” said counselor Courtenay Tessler, “and it’s so important for these kids to see the other options out there, too.”

The students who visited the restaurant Ella in downtown Sacramento have all dreamed of careers as chefs, some for as long as they can remember.

So when Ella’s executive chef Kelly McCown invited Tessler to bring some students for a tour, she quickly found seven eager juniors and seniors.

Several, like Erika Lamontagne and her friend Samantha Mustard, hope to become pastry chefs.

“I don’t want to own a huge place,” Lamontagne said while looking around the spacious Ella, located at 12th and K streets. “I want to open up a little pastry shop.”

For her part, Mustard likes making cakes.

“I do a lot of cakes,” she said. “I like all of it, baking them, doing different fillings, designing them.”

Said Lamontagne: “She makes really good fillings for cakes.”

The two girls, along with classmate Jackie Rodriguez, spent time last week in Ella’s kitchen working with pastry chef Rachel Kelly.

Mustard prepared scoops of chocolate for truffles, while Lamontagne and Rodriguez prepared huckleberries for a sauce. They quizzed the smoothly efficient Kelly about her job while they worked.

Kelly, who attended a culinary school in San Francisco, told them she’s been a pastry chef for three years and was a line cook before that.

“I swore I would never do pastries,” she told her three helpers. “But if you want to be a good chef, you have to get over your fears.”

You also have to work hard, noted sous chef Ravin Patel, who guided the students through a tour of the restaurant before demonstrating salmon preparations for four of them.

“It looks glamorous on TV,” he said of being a chef. “And it is glamorous, but I was here for 14 hours yesterday and I’ll be here 15 hours today. It’s a lot of work.”

Patel graduated from UC Davis and went to work as a stockbroker before deciding to pursue a career as a chef instead. He attended culinary school in New York City and eventually made his way back to Sacramento.

He talked at length with the Davis students about what makes a successful restaurant, and the skills needed to make it happen.

“It seems like so much work if I want to do this,” Lamontagne noted.

But none of the students felt any less determined.

“I want to be a cook,” said senior Blake Figueroa, “but I also want to own a place.”

His plans for making that happen get underway next year when he’ll be taking culinary classes at American River College.

Classmate Zachari White has a different goal: “I wouldn’t want to be a manager or own a place. I want to be a chef.”

He plans to take classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Sacramento next year.

Meanwhile Christine Keleman will jump right into the business when she heads to Newport Beach after graduation. A family friend has a job waiting for her in a hotel restaurant, probably as a dishwasher, and she’ll work her way up. Eventually, she’d like to open a Vietnamese restaurant.

For her part, Tessler was glad to give students a peek into what their futures could hold, as well as the reminders of the importance of hard work and just how much they’ll need what they’re learning now in high school – particularly math, which they watched Patel using repeatedly to calculate everything from measurements in a recipe to how much salmon to order from Scotland.

“All the skills are so important,” Tessler noted.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at (530) 747-8051 or [email protected] Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5