Aileen Lopez is a second year Culinary Arts student currently doing her second co-op placement with the Culinary Research & Innovation program at Red River College. We chatted with Aileen about her path to culinary arts and research.
What got you interested in Culinary Arts?
I got interested in Culinary when I moved here to Canada with my two sisters. None of us knew how to cook meals that we usually eat back home in the Philippines. Since none of us was trying hard enough to make “good” dishes, I decided to step up and watch videos online on how to prep ingredients correctly.
I also read different recipes everyday so I can incorporate it into the dishes I wanted to make for my sisters. As time went by, I gained more interest in cooking, and I was seeing improvement on the dishes that I was creating. The biggest factor that made me want to pursue Culinary was seeing the happiness and appreciation for the meals I have prepared. That was reason enough for me to enter Culinary school.
What have your favourite subjects been so far and why?
My favourite courses throughout my two years in Culinary would definitely be Global Cuisine and Evening Dining. I liked Global Cuisine because I was able to explore so many different cuisines that developed my repertoire as a cook. I loved Evening Dining for the reason that I was given an opportunity to work in a fine dining restaurant with wonderful people and an amazing chef for my last class in the College while creating dishes I’ve never imagined I would be able to make.
What surprised you about the program and the training?
I am amazed by how much an inexperienced cook like me would have pronounced growth as a cook and as an individual after going through two years of overwhelming training under professional instructors and chefs. The growth I have achieved through this curriculum is impressive and life changing, which is why I am delighted that I pursued this program.
Why did you pick Culinary Research & Innovation for your co-op, and what do you like about it?
I joined Culinary Research & Innovation for my co-op because I wanted to try something different. I wanted to know what was beyond cooking and to gain more knowledge about the industry. I like being part of this program because I get to work with diverse projects and clients that amplify my understanding about food, science, and cooking.
What’s the strangest food experience you’ve ever had?
I haven’t encountered a strange food experience yet, but my best food experience would be eating at a dining room on the Disney Cruise. The food was amazing. They served unlimited sea bass, which was unbelievable! The servers were choreographed to Disney songs every time they leave the kitchen and danced their way through the dining room to our table. It was a breathtaking food experience I would definitely go back for!