Dani in Chef Hat

In exactly one week from today, I will be attending my first day of culinary school!

HOLY COW, I am excited, nervous, and feel like I want to throw up all at the same time.

Since I’ve started this blog, I have come to realize that I have a small obsession with food.

  • I am constantly following new restaurants that are opening up in the city, and dragging Derika all over so that we can give them a try.
  • l research the heck out of all of the restaurants when we are traveling, and take an embarrassing amount of photos of our food while we are there so that I can blog about it.
  • I spend hours scrolling Pinterest looking at recipes and forever adding them to my Recipes I Want to Make list.
  • I love whipping up new and healthy dishes in the Glitter Spice test kitchen. Some make it to the recipes page and some are just things that should never be made again. Thank you Derika for being my guinea pig. 🙂

I have been blogging for over two years now; it is something that I do almost daily that I really truly love. It has also caused a fantasy of culinary school to slowly creep into my mind. The problem is that I don’t love school, I have no interest in going back to school for another 2 years to get another degree, and I was nervous about having to cook weird mystery meat. So I put my culinary school dream on the ‘it would be nice, but it is never going to happen‘ list, and never expected anything to come of it.

Then…in walks the Natural Gourmet Institute.

At the end of January I found myself up late one night scrolling through The FaceSpace, when I came across an ad for a culinary school in New York called the Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI). I got sucked in and followed the link and spent the next hour speed-reading through the school’s website, all along getting more and more excited. So here’s the deal, if I were to create a culinary school this would be it. If I was living in another state and heard about NGI, I would wish that I lived in NYC so that I could attend this school! Basically, I was doing somersaults in the bed!

Here is the first thing that I read that got me ALL of the excited… NGI calls it their ‘MANIFESTO’ and I like it!


food that is: seasonal, local, whole, traditional, balanced, fresh and delicious.


that what we eat significantly affects our physical, mental and spiritual well being.


that each individual thrives on a diet unique to their specific needs.


exceptional, innovative and interdisciplinary education.


individuals and communities to take charge of their own health and well-being.


a professional and nurturing environment where students and employees are able to realize their full potential.


the creation and maintenance of a sustainable food system by building connections with suppliers and taking on broader advocacy initiatives.

All of this is like music to my ears and makes me so darn happy and excited!

Guess what else!?

The full-time programs is only six months (so I will be done by the end of summer…AWESOME!), it is mostly vegetarian and when we do cook meat it is local and sustainable (BRILLIANT!), and the values that are taught are very similar to the values that I use in my every day life (HAPPINESS!).

By the time that Derika got home from work the next day. I had already arranged for a meeting at the school, signed up for the open house, registered us for one of their Friday Night Dinners and started working on my application. Basically you can say that I was a tad bit excited! I just needed to tell Derika about my plan, which I did at dinner that night. Since she is awesome, it was super easy and she was super supportive and excited about my new adventure. #bestwifeever!

The next day I started securing letters of recommendation (Thank You Sarah and Shannon!!), applying for scholarships and finishing up my application. All of this was buttoned up and sent out in about 2 weeks time, and by that time we had already gone to our first Friday Night Dinner, which is BYOB by the way :)!

I was nervous and excited to go to this dinner. I was nervous, because I was already so excited about this school, and if it sucked then the air would be taken out of my sail a bit. I was excited, because I would get an opportunity to see what I would possibly be doing soon! I kept on telling myself to not get too excited, because I was not even accepted yet! Derika and I ended up having an amazing time at the Friday Night Dinner. She even made a comment during our meal that if all vegan food tasted this good then she could easily be vegan, and I totally agreed with her. Over the course of the evening we enjoyed an amazing salad with chickpea croquettes, a great vegan tempeh jambalaya and an awesome orange sorbet.

After all of the amazing food, we got to meet the chefs and ask them a few questions about the meal. I asked waaaaay to many questions and ended up leaving more excited than ever!

Now all I had to do was wait to see if I got accepted…which was the worst.

Thank goodness, exactly one month later, I found out that I got accepted into NGI and as I have already mentioned…I am super-duper excited!

The next day I headed to the uniform shop downtown and picked out my chef coat, chef hat, pants, funny looking clog shoes and apron and I have just been waiting anxiously to get started.

Chef Coat

So there you have it! This is the story of how culinary school has finally become a reality in my life. I have no idea on what I am about to get myself into, but my goal is to share as much as I can. I am not setting my expectations to high, but I am going to try my best to document it on my blog the best that I can. I think it will be good for myself to document this new adventure in my life, but I also think that it would be a great resource for anyone else that is thinking about taking the NGI leap. I hope you enjoy the ride!

Here’s to taking chances and following your dreams!



9 thoughts on “Adventures in Culinary School

  1. Danielle Esparza

    I am so unbelievably excited for you Dani!! Deciding to go to culinary school was a pivotal turning point for me and I’m so happy that you found one that fits you to a T! Good luck!!

  2. Alyson

    Dani I loved reading this post! I’m so happy and excited for you! This school looks SO Amazing! WOW it is so perfect it makes me want to go (and I don’t even like cooking that much) hahaha. I can’t wait to keep reading and hearing about how it goes. Congrats again!

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