In 1996 I decided to take a break from the pursuit of my engineering degree at Penn State University and follow my dream of cooking. I wanted professional training and an opportunity to travel, and Le Cordon Bleu London was my chance to turn both of these dreams into reality.
I suddenly found myself in London, during the foment of England’s food revolution, studying among a respected group of chef-instructors at one of the most highly regarded culinary schools in the world - it was certainly a great way to get started in cooking. Outside the classroom, the opportunities for further learning were unique: London presented the chance to work in Michelin-starred restaurants; plus its proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, made it relatively easy to sample some of the world’s most interesting cuisines.
I had originally intended to pursue only the savoury side of life, but thankfully, the Le Cordon Bleu staff convinced me to follow the route of the Grand Diplôme (the combination of a Cuisine Diploma and a Pâtisserie Diploma). This enabled me to become a much better rounded chef and allowed me to more fully understand the skills and science involved with cooking.
I was able to translate the classic technique and attention to detail that I learned at Le Cordon Bleu as well as the cultural influences absorbed in such a multi-ethnic European capital as London into opening PUBLIC restaurant in New York City in 2003. I received many accolades along the way, including a Michelin star in 2008. Our second restaurant, Double Crown, followed on this success and opened at the end of 2008.
The curriculum at Le Cordon Bleu has not only given me the day-to-day skills that help me in the kitchen, but the knowledge that allows me to teach younger cooks so that they can improve their own techniques. This solid foundation also continues to fuel my passion for travel, allowing me to cook at prestigious events, demonstrations, and guest chef dinners around the world.