Domenica Lazo is a 2018 IFMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends the Culinary Institute of America and is majoring in Culinary Arts. Find out what she had to say when we asked her a few questions about her foodservice scholarship and future career.
What is your major & what made you decide on it?
My major is Culinary Science. I decided to pursue this degree when I took my Chocolates and Confections class as well as the Advanced Baking Principles class at my school. These classes stressed the importance of science and research required for dietary restrictions and working with sweets that immersed me into a new world of cooking. What I love about this program is that mistakes are your best friend. When you make a mistake, you can learn what caused it and how to fix it so that it will not occur again.
How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
Many big cities have the most diverse restaurants available. Cities like these, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, can be very expensive to live in. At school, I began to take a lot of trips to NYC and fell in love with the city life. I very much would like to live in a city with diverse cuisines, and this scholarship has allowed me to save up more money than I could have in one semester on my own to be able to live in one of these cities.
What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was being a grill cook for Bob Evans.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
I honestly love the industry I am in so much that I would love any job in the baking and pastry or research and development world. I am extremely interested in working with chocolate, so a job involving chocolate would be ideal. If I were to work in a restaurant, I would love to experiment with desserts that have dietary restrictions and help customers by providing a delicious dessert at the end of their meal.
What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
There are truly too many things that I have learned at the CIA that I will take with me in my career. One is to always be a student, to never be close-minded and to go into any establishment as if you have not learned anything before. Another is to never be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are something you learn from, and without them, we as a society would become stippled from success.
What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
I truly believe one of the biggest challenges that students face in today's world of foodservice is the lack of respect regarding work and money. MANY students that choose to go into fine dining restaurants are not paid or are not paid enough for their work at the restaurant, because "the experience speaks for itself." Although some people may have different ethics when it comes to how much effort they put into their work, I believe that if the time is put into the work, the student should be rewarded for their work. If after a certain amount of time, the student is not a correct fit at the foodservice job, they may/should be let go. I truly believe, though, that unpaid work is very detrimental to living a healthy life.
Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
Although I have learned from many chefs and teachers that have provided me with guidance throughout my career, I believe my mentor to be my father. He has always provided me with any advice I have needed in my career as well as given me opportunities to succeed. I would not have been able to go to the CIA without my father's financial help. He has always taught me to invest in myself and to always be a student. I would also consider my best friend and partner my mentor. His unwavering support and guidance throughout our college career have been incredibly beneficial in my life and career.
What is your favorite meal?
I don't believe I have one set favorite meal. One of my favorites is my mom's lasagna. It's very labor intensive, so whenever she make it, it is very special to me. Other favorites include ramen, pho, and rice and beans.
What companies have you worked at for internships?
I have worked at the Four Seasons Resort and Hotels in Orlando, Florida.
About The IFMA Education Foundation
The IFMA Education Foundation promotes the next generation of foodservice leaders. The Foundation is committed to give qualified culinary, marketing or food science students support toward completion of education requirements. Over the years, we've accomplished our goal by providing scholarships, publications, educational programs, internships and stipends to accredited institutions and individuals enrolled in accredited institutions.
Do you want to support the next generation of foodservice by making a donation to IFMA's Education Foundation?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.