By: Izzy Reyes and Mehar Dhanjal
One of the many pleasures of being a Gladiator is the experience of walking through the hallways to find your senses awakened to the aromas wafting from room 140. But who’s behind such exquisite cuisine?
We sat down with Chef Kathryn Delaney, who runs the culinary program, to discuss her passion for cooking and educating.
What were some of your past experiences that prepared you for your current position?
I spent one year at Wilde-Lake (2018-2019). Before that I taught adult professional pastry art students at L’Academie de Cuisine (2009-2018), and then I started at Glenelg in the 2019-2020 school year.
How did you decide to become a culinary arts instructor?
It was a natural progression working in the culinary industry, I had always enjoyed training people. I also had to recover from an illness that required less physical labor. While I was recovering I was offered a position as an Assistant Pastry Instructor. I accepted and spent the next three years working under a great female pastry chef. Eventually, I moved on to open up my own bakery in Seattle, which led me to become the lead pastry instructor.
What made you want to switch your major?
I originally earned my bachelors and masters degree in taxation. I was working as an auditor and I soon learned that it wasn't a good personality fit. It was very introverted work, and I learned that I am much more of an extrovert than I thought. I became very unhappy and didn’t know what to do. I decided to pursue my passion in pastry. I had lived in Germany as a Kid, and traveled across Europe, and I wanted to be able to make the things that I used to have. So, I quit my job, and volunteered full time for six weeks at an Italian-American bakery in Massachusetts. I fell in love with working with my team to produce cookies, cakes, and pastries. Afterward I enrolled in culinary school for pastry art.
How would you describe your class to someone who isn’t enrolled in it?
Food and Nutrition Technology’s goal is to prepare anyone with useful life skills in cooking techniques, ingredients, life long positive nutrition habits, and exposure to other cultures cuisines. Culinary Science and Advanced Culinary Science builds on that foundation with more advanced skills that could prepare you for a career in the Restaurant industry. Culinary and Advanced Culinary are more challenge-based for real life scenarios and allows more student creativity and choice.
What do you hope that students get out of your class?
I hope that at the minimum self sufficiency for basic life long meal preparation, to save them money and develop confidence in the kitchen and expose them to many more ingredients and flavors than they may have not previously tried before food and nutrition. I would also hope that they become more effective team members practicing communication skills throughout the year.
What are your future goals?
The program has already grown, it seems, 500% since I started here, so we are maxed out on enrollment now. My main goal in the next few years would be one to have more students complete the culinary academy through apprenticeships and two to try and integrate more collaborative activities with other departments, so that students can apply what they are learning in other subjects to a kitchen context. One of my very long term goals is to eventually develop a pastry and baking class for the county.
My very long term goal is to eventually develop a pastry and baking class for the county.
People often say cooking with love provides food for the soul. How does this resonate with you?
Having lived in the Alps really influenced my culinary perspective to incorporate as many cuisines from as many different cultures as possible. I love the science and artistry of pastry. One of the things I love about cooking is that you never have to stop learning. There are always more techniques to learn and new recipes to try - it's a lifelong romance. My favorite quote is by Oscar Wilde, who said: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” - and that’s how I feel about cooking.