Lauren Cooke, CEPC, CHE


Name: Lauren Cooke


Present employment: Mid Florida Tech: Culinary Instructor

Previous employment: Le Cordon Bleu, Baking and Pastry instructor; Valencia Community College, Baking and Pastry instructor; Yellow Dog Eats Café, Kitchen Manager (Responsibilities included production of food and pastries). I have worked in the Orlando area for the past 31 years!

“Timeless Pastries” is my personal business which I supply pastries and Wedding cakes for several restaurants and clients. (Since 1988)

Grand Openings: Epcot France,Marrriot World Center, Hilton Lake Buena Vista, Peabody Hotel and the ten year Anniversary of Walt Disney World.
Special Awards: Presidential Award 2004, Culinarian of the Year 2006, Best Tasting Food 2006, ACF Presidential Recognition Coin 2011.

Education and training: Johnson and Wales College, AS Degree in Culinary Arts, Notter School, pulled sugar, and chocolate center pieces.

Mentor Chefs: I have had the honor of working with some of the best pastry chefs in the country. I have more than one mentor. Attending Johnson and Wales College allowed me to work at Walt Disney World for my internship. Thankfully I was offered a full time position in the Central Foods division.

Albert Kumin, Meta The’ and Chef Lenotre’ had a great impact on my career to say the very least! Working in the pastry kitchen with these chefs’s was an opportunity of a life time!! What an amazing learning experience, all three taught me how to work hard, be efficient, and creative. Albert taught me all about chocolate and pulled sugar, Meta taught me how to make beautiful marzipan roses, and creatures, and Chef Lenotre’ taught me French pastries. There were only 8 of us in total that worked in the pastry shop and we supplied pastries and cakes for 30 thousand people a day!

How did they impact my career? They impacted my career immensely. They taught me discipline and if you’re going to do something do it to the best of your ability, and NO SHORT CUTS!!! When I teach I am reminded of the little pastry kitchen and how patient, strict and understanding they were. All three chefs were very tough, stern, and brutally honest. If you made a mistake, the mistake was never made again! This toughened me up and prepared me for the future. I have never stopped using the techniques and skills they taught me.

Favorite dishes to prepare: I would have to say rack of lamb and any pastry or dessert.

Favorite foods to eat: ALL FOOD IS MY FAVORITE!!!

Favorite cook book: I don’t have a favorite; I think I own about 400 cook books! They are all good.

Ingredients you could not live without: Butter, heavy cream, sugar, flour, meat.

What gives you pleasure on the job? I love to teach and to see students do things that they think they could never learn or make is a great pleasure. When students come and visit me from years past and tell me how great their career is going, that is the ultimate pleasure.

What was your worst disaster in the kitchen? We needed napoleons for a banquet and the server dumped the only tray we had!! Thank God I had key lime pie in the refrigerator; the customer was just ok with it.

What advice do you have for new Culinarians? There are 2 things I can’t teach commitment and desire to learn, you must have those to survive in this business, good pair of shoes, and be ready to work harder than ever, and enjoy the ride.

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