Working 9-to-5 and Attending Culinary School

How They Do It and Why

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
Working in the Admissions department at NGI has been an enlightening and uplifting experience. I have had the opportunity to speak with many brave and passionate professionals looking to break into the culinary industry and to exemplify what George Eliot once said.

Of course, becoming a culinary student when you already have a full-time job and responsibilities is no easy feat. Luckily, NGI offers a part-time Chef’s Training Program where students can continue to work full-time while simultaneously pursuing their culinary goals. I interviewed Jenna Rodriguez, a part-time student in the Chef’s Training Program, to find out how she keeps up with the program.

Jenna Rodriguez
By Day: Account Manager
By Evening: Chef’s Training  Program Student

What prompted you to sign up for the part-time Chef’s Training Program?

My love for food, nutrition and holistic wellness. I aspire to better share the joys of a healthy lifestyle with everyone I can.

How has this experience changed your everyday life?

I've always liked experimenting in the kitchen, but my thirst for culinary adventure has gotten even stronger! I now challenge myself to try something new every time I shop for groceries - whether it be a spice, a new vegetable (I've become obsessed with dandelion greens!) or a protein. I have pasture-raised emu from the Union Square Greenmarket in my refrigerator right now.

What advice would you give to other prospective students interested in pursuing the part-time program?

Prepare yourself mentally - it is not an easy time commitment, but it is so worth it. The skills and confidence you'll gain among so many like-minded people will surprise you in the most wonderful ways, and you'll have the best time doing it. Time-management (calendars! planners!) is key.

This story was originally published by the Natural Gourmet Institute. Learn more about flexible class schedules at today's Natural Gourmet Center at the Institute of Culinary Education.

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