With each step she’s taken—whether it is as simple as essential knife skills or fully understanding the scope and responsibilities of cold food preparation—Ivy Gengler has not only increased her culinary skills, she’s revealed what is it to be a lifelong learner. Here, the Presidential Scholarship recipient who recently began as an A.A.S. Baking and Pastry student at Kendall, shares what fuels her passion in the kitchen:
“Baking and pastry is my passion, as it is with many others who also enjoy the smell of fresh baked bread. Fresh is the keyword for me. I have a personal goal to spread joy to others through the sweet, savory taste of baking.
“Through time, grain has developed into a culture all on its own, its own science. The fascination I have with it is overwhelming. I truly believe baking is what I have been challenged to do with in my life, specifically the art of baking breads.
“Rewind to my sophomore year of high school … I stepped into the culinary field not knowing what to expect. We started easy: mother sauces, the process of gluten, knife skills—all things I still use today. This class became my entire life: I literally inhaled flour for about two years.
“My passion grew when I went out West this summer for a seasonal job. I made it to Yellowstone National Park and started my job as a dishwasher at the Old Faithful Inn kitchen, one of the busiest kitchens in the Northern Hemisphere. At first it was kind of scary, but in a short time it was exhilarating. The constant movement made me want to succeed.
“Within a week, I moved out of the dish pit and into cold food preparation. My job was a fast-paced run after that. I moved from place to place learning different jobs, such as a line cook, buffet runner, and buffet cook. Finally, the day came that I was offered a promotion. As an 18-year-old, first season newbie, I was offered a lead position in the pantry/cold prep side of the kitchen. I was astounded.
“The main lesson I took away from this summer was that I will always have more to learn. I will continue to learn until I no longer can. The Old Faithful Inn has inspired such growth and personal change in me in such a short amount of time, but the benefits will be long term. This scholarship will push me even more to reach my dream of serving the public delicious, sweet, and savory treats.”
Please leave a comment to welcome and congratulate Ivy!