March 2015 Student of the month is Christopher Hardcastle, a Marine Corps veteran whose love for food and wine inspired him to change career paths from anthropology to the culinary arts. Read his energizing story!
Name: Christopher Hardcastle
Hometown: Houston, Texas. I was raised here. I love it, except for the traffic!
Course of study: AAS in Culinary Arts
Graduation: October 2015
Project for internship: I’m applying for a job at Four Seasons hotel to do my practicum, for four or five months. It’s very exciting!
Personal motto: Try to be honest with everybody about everything
- What is your favorite food and beverage?
I don’t really know, I love all sorts of food, that’s why I decided to get into this. I especially like curry, it’s really cool because you can just add so many different ingredients and spices.
I was doing the wine program, so I love wine, but also whisky and bourbon. I loved my experience in the wine program. I actually stayed friends with Alex (wine instructor) and we talk occasionally. One day when my schedule allows it I’d like to take the Sommelier Exam to be a certified sommelier. I’ll study that after my AAS.
- What is the best meal you’ve ever had (the food, the place, the people, the experience…)?
When I went to Barbados with my wife, this one really simple meal was made for us, and it was a fried flying fish salad, it was very good, and out of all the meals I had while I was there or practically my entire life, that’s the one that sticks out the most for some reason. It was so simple but so delicious!
- Why did you want to become a chef? What sparked this career change?
After my service in the military I went to the University of Houston to study anthropology. I didn’t really enjoyed it as much as I thought. I started thinking about cooking with my mom and grandmother while growing up and then one night, as cliché as it is, I actually had a dream about becoming a chef, cooking for people. I thought about it more and more, and realized that I love to eat, cook and drink and I wanted to make it a career.
- When did you decide to come at Culinary Institute LeNôtre?
I decided to come here a couple months before starting the wine program. I felt, this was the only school that was worth it, because the other schools didn’t seemed as good. I was specifically interested in the wine program.
- What is the most important thing you learned at CIL? Do you have a specific memory?
We learn so many things here, it’s hard to choose one! Maybe how to make a “roux”, a thickening agent created by cooking flour and butter used to cook sauces. I love to make sauces.
- What is your most interesting subject at school right now?
I like the Master Chefs class, and also the Hotel Management elective. I learn a lot.
- What would you like to do after graduation?
I’d like to travel the world with my wife and discover different ethnic food and their dining culture.