Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago alum, MasterChef Season 2 Contestant, former Neural Engineer, and current Corporate Research and Development Chef Suzy Singh recently visited the Chicago campus. She led a NOW Foods blogger cooking class and shared valuable culinary career advice. It is always nice to have our graduates return to campus, but with Chef Singh it was an extra special day for everyone.
“For me it was one of the most amazing events. We led the class in the same room where I took my first Le Cordon Bleu course and where I auditioned for MasterChef. When I think about it, almost all of my greatest milestones have taken place at culinary school, except maybe my wedding.”
The NOW Foods culinary demo took place on January 31, 2014. Chef Singh instructed several Le Cordon Bleu students and food bloggers on how to re-create recipes designed to maintain their New Year’s Resolutions. As Chef Singh says, with NOW Foods you can eat great and feel great.
NOW Foods is a family-owned business out of Bloomingdale, Illinois. Founded 46 years ago by Mr. Elwood Richards, the company is customer focused, information driven, and quality and value oriented. Chef Singh says that her work as a Corporate R&D Chef (she formulates and tests recipes) is by far her most beloved culinary move so far. “I’m at a company that believes in having high standards for food,” she said. “I feel happier, lighter, and healthier than ever before. That’s what you need in a job. I encourage students to look for that job that makes them feel their best in the kitchen.”
More Culinary Career Tips from Chef Singh
In just four short years, Chef Singh has held a number of culinary roles. She recognizes that it’s not always advantageous to switch positions often. She says recent culinary school graduates should plan to stay in a job for at least one to two years to really learn the ropes. She also offers these pieces of career advice:
1. Choose a challenging externship. Go after a position that pushes you to the edge. Never again will you have your inexperience to fall back on!
2. Don’t be afraid to travel. If you have the opportunity to taste the food at its origin, you should! That’s one of the best experiences you can have.
3. “Mise en place in life.” Work to have order in your life and have everything in its place. At an interview, have your knives ready. Research the company you’re interviewing with beforehand. Look the part with your chef’s coat ironed.
4. Don’t be afraid. Have the courage to step up to the line. Make sure you understand all the processes of the restaurant and the kitchen. Ask questions.
5. Find stability. Latch on to a restaurant or company you love. That stability will keep you grounded in such a hectic work environment.
6. Follow your passion. Be true to who you are in your culinary voice and go after it. If you’re good at classic American cooking, do it. Be your very best at it. Don’t hold back.
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago offers culinary arts and pastry and baking training programs in Chicago, Illinois. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Chicago for more information.