Culinary Management – H100
With an MBA in marketing and 13 years of experience with companies like Kellogg's, Uncle Ben's and Dreyer's, Amy Bracco was an expert at getting new products to fly off the shelves.
The problem was she wasn't learning anything new or really enjoying her work.
"So I quit," says the 41-year-old Michigan-native.
In her late thirties, Bracco went back to school to master one of her passions — cooking. After taking a few courses through Continuing Education at George Brown, she decided to enrol in the full-time Culinary Management program.
"The curriculum is pretty extensive and complete," says Bracco. "What I liked most was the hands-on experience I got from the labs and the professional relationships with the chef professors, which then led to job opportunities."
Near the end of her first year, Bracco started working part-time at Marsan, an award-winning processor of frozen foods, soups, and other products for grocery stores, and foodservice providers.
Since graduating from George Brown in 2002, Bracco has been cooking up new products as a full-time research and development chef for Marsan.
"It dovetails nicely with the kind of work I was doing before as I ended up mostly in new product development and marketing," Bracco says. "Aren't I the luckiest person on earth that I get to do for a living what I'd be doing at home anyways?"
Bracco continues her relationship with the George Brown Chef School as a member of the Innovation Circle, a group of industry experts who provide feedback and insight into culinary education, and the Compliments Centre, a test kitchen located in the Chef School where new products are developed for grocery retailer Sobey's.
"I've enjoyed it immensely," Bracco says of her involvement with the College. "It gives me the opportunity to use my marketing skills and my culinary expertise all at once."
Bracco's advice to future culinary students is to try new things and be open to non-traditional jobs in the field. "I never meant to end up where I did, yet where I am is perfect for me."