Boot Camp Spotlight

Basking in the Afterglow

Michelle Scobie, cooking boot camp attendee at the CIA
"Boot Camp allowed me to be more adventurous. I felt encouraged to try techniques and recipes that I hadn’t done before."

Michelle Scobie's Story

“I still have the afterglow,” says Michelle Scobie a week after returning home to Dunwoody, GA from Taste NY Boot Camp. “It was so much fun!”

During a recent layoff, Michelle saw the perfect opportunity to fulfill a longtime dream before she went back to work. “I have been taking cooking classes in Atlanta for many, many years, and coming to The Culinary Institute of America has always been on my bucket list,” she says. “So when I was laid off, my husband said, ‘you have to do this now.’”

Scrolling through the many different Boot Camps on the CIA website, Michelle chose Taste NY Boot Camp at the Hyde Park campus because “using ingredients from the local area appealed to me, as I try to do that at home as well.”

Learning about and using foods and ingredients sourced from around the Hudson Valley was exactly what Michelle and her eight fellow Boot Campers did. One day, they took an off-campus excursion to three farms and purveyors, beginning with Barton Orchards in Poughquag. “At Barton Orchards, the owner gave us an overview of how they plant and stake the apple trees to maximize production and minimize waste,” she says. “He then set the group loose to pick vegetables and apples.”

The next stop was Madava Farms for a sugarhouse tour, including a guided tasting of the farm’s estate-produced organic Crown Maple syrups, and lunch. The trip ended at Sprout Creek Farm, a working farm and creamery in Poughkeepsie. “We were able to experience the farm animals up close, including a calf that had just been born the night before,” Michelle says. “To conclude the tour, their cheesemaker explained the whole process, and we were able to sample four cheeses. The cheese Sprout Creek Farm is producing is amazing!”

Feeling inspired, and laden with bags filled with Hudson Valley produce, syrups, and cheeses, Michelle and her classmates quickly got to work back in the CIA kitchens. “The two gentlemen cooking with me on my team, Joe and Bill, have been to several CIA Boot Camp classes, and I learned a lot from them,” she says. “Chef Bruno encouraged us to taste everything during the cooking process, and because of what they’d learned before, Joe and Bill improvised a little with the recipes. For example, they knew when a dish needed a little acid or extra salt to round out the flavor.

“Boot Camp allowed me to be more adventurous,” Michelle continues. “I felt encouraged to try techniques and recipes that I hadn’t done before. I made pastry dough, and now I think, ‘do I just make my own from now on instead of buying it?’”

With a renewed sense of confidence and accomplishment, Michelle wanted to be sure to keep the good feelings going. So she took advantage of the Boot Camp Rewards program, purchasing her next Boot Camp at a 15% savings while she was still on campus. Now back at home, “I’m looking over the catalog to see when I can come back to Hyde Park, as well as scoping out CIA San Antonio classes. My dream would be to take classes at every campus!”

Have a culinary adventure of your own and register for a CIA Boot Camp now >

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