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Walden Magazine // Jul 11, 2016

From the Field: Top Chef

Christopher Correa Photo credit: Martin Herbst

“High school is a lot like a kitchen—fast-paced, a lot of people, and plenty of pressure. Because of that, teaching and cooking are very similar: You have to be organized, have patience, be an incredible multitasker.

I’d been working in restaurants since I was 16 years old, and I loved working in the kitchen but have always had a passion for working with youth. I took some time off and traveled to Africa and Europe; when I came back to the States, a job as a chef instructor opened up at my local high school. Upon hiring me, the district requested that I complete a bachelor’s degree. I already had the chef skills, but I was lacking professional teaching experience. Walden gave me the skills to become a better teacher.

Cooking is an essential life skill that my students need to know. They can eat healthier and save money by cooking at home as opposed to eating out. A lot of students lack basic nutritional knowledge, but it’s so easy to teach anybody how to cook simple, healthy recipes.

I have the best job in the world: I’m still able to work in a kitchen, but I get to share my skills with over 100 students every day and improve their lives in the process.”

— CHRISTOPHER CORREA ’15 had a long restaurant career before pursuing his BS in Educational Studies. He is now a culinary arts teacher in the career technology education program at El Molino High School in West Sonoma County, California, as well as an adjunct professor in hospitality at Santa Rosa Junior College.