Job Envy: Nicole Shuman
Leading chef and instructor at LEcole Culinaire, St. louis
They say cooking feeds the soul. If that’s true, consider Nicole Shuman a bona fide saint. As a leading chef and instructor at the prestigious L’Ecole Culinaire in St. Louis, she spends as much time in the kitchen preparing culinary masterpieces—and teaching the skills behind them—as she does enjoying them. Occasional trips to France and other exotic locales in the name of eduction aren’t too shabby either. In the words of Julia Child, “Bon Appetit!”
HOW SHE GOT INTO THE BIZ It was kind of my one act of rebellion growing up. I went to culinary school because I always liked to cook and bake and wanted to see if I could make my living at it. While in school, I fell in love with the industry and never looked back.
EDUCATION/TRAINING I was in the first graduating class for Baking and Pastry Arts at Sullivan University and hold both a BA and MBA from Fontbonne University.
BEST WORK DAY EVER Waking up in the south of France while teaching an externship class for L’Ecole Culinaire and knowing that I had a full day of going to the market, cooking and touring wineries with my students ahead of me.
WHY HER JOB ROCKS I get to work with incredibly talented staff, faculty members and great students, and I get to be in on the ground floor when it comes to my students’ culinary careers.
TYPICAL DAY A couple of hours of class or event preparation, followed by a couple of hours tutoring and counseling students or attending committee/ faculty meetings. I love the balance of my days.
PROUDEST MOMENT Being awarded Instructor of the Year my first year at L’Ecole Culinaire.
BEST JOB PERK I get to eat awesome food every day!
ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO LEARN The number of business and management classes that I teach in addition to the kitchen-based classes. People are always intrigued that I teach math.
MOST INTERESTING DISH SHE’S EVER CREATED Fat Elvis Cream Puffs—cream puffs filled with peanut butter mousse, roasted bananas and crisp bacon, then glazed in dark chocolate and topped with chopped honey-roasted peanuts and shards of bacon.
THE FOOD SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT That is almost like asking me which kid I love the most! I would have to say bacon wins at the end of the day; it is delicious on its own and plays well with most other foods.
GOALS FOR THE FUTURE I would like to pursue a PHD and continue building my career in higher education.
Photo credit: Attilio D’Agostino