Chef Gigi Gaggero, Founder
Company: Kids Culinary Adventures
Years worked in current role: 13
Years of experience in food industry: 35
In 300 characters or less describe your job:
I am a classically trained Chef and Pastry Chef. Also trained FOH. Hotel and restaurant experience. Former Academic Director, Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco Ca. I noticed the influx of high school graduates coming into the culinary education industry and I wondered who was teaching kids prior to that. So I opened a professional cooking school for Kids ages 3-18. Now, I’m a food and nutrition writer.
What are the top 3 characteristics you need to be good at your job:
- My job requires a business background,
- vast culinary skills
- strong experience in leadership and relationship management.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in food?
Because I love to cook, I love to eat, and I am a hospitality person by nature. We are born, not made.
Top 3 advice tips for students and new grads coming into the industry
1 Never stand idol. If you have downtime- clean. And don’t complain. EVER!Complain in the privacy of your home and never at work. You can go scream in the walk-in if you need to. Alone.
2 Keep your head down (meaning work and stay focused) and your mouth shut (meaning -no talking) work quick and precise. Labor $ count as much as food cost and waste. Don’t make mistakes, and make everything look the same. If the strawberry is on demo plate at 11 o’clock and you have 1000 plates after that, every strawberry will be placed at 11 o’clock. Carry a pen and note pad in your chef jacket, – if you need to remember anything – write it down so you don’t have to ask the chef again .
3 Watch and learn . Keep your ego out of it. You are just beginning your culinary journey even though you have worked very hard already and graduated. Now, the real work will begins – stay humble and rotate all stations at work if you can. But remember, if you are placed working in the pantry you should master it before you think you can move anywhere else on the line. Whatever you are assigned to, do it the best. Be the person that says, “Yes, right away Chef” and move like you mean it.
Tell us why your Food Job Rocks?
I am also the former Dean/ Academic Director of Le Cordon Bleu in SF Ca. I noticed the influx of high school graduates coming straight into the culinary industry right after graduation. I wondered who was teaching any kind of culinary life skills prior to that. I decided to open up a professional culinary school for children. We anchored math, reading, science, and art including – nutrition to the medium of cooking. We’ve helped thousands of families learn to eat better, cleaner and safer. The best part is seeing the children learn how to cook professionally and clean up after. They would actually influence their partners and care givers to be a better shopper and eat more nutritionally – added benefit is that the kids were understanding their math, science, geography and history school work better. We believe a child can do anything if you just teach to a place they understand and can connect. Many times that’s food.The outcomes of been amazing. It feels good to help change lives in a positive way .
“The silverware had a fight, the knife and spoon were right…so the fork left”
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