Our May 2015 Student of the Month is Lenissa Villas-Boas, a Student from Brazil working towards her AAS in Baking and Pastry Arts. Read her inspiring testimonial and learn more about the classroom experience at CIL!
Name: Lenissa Villas Boas
Hometown: Florianopolis, Brazil
Current City : Houston
Course of Study: A.A.S. in Baking and Pastry
Year of Graduation: 2015
Graduated: Bachelor Degree in Business and Marketing, and A.A.S. in Culinary Arts
Personal Motto: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- What is your Favorite food or Beverage?
It is difficult to make one choice of favorite food. I believe that taste of food along with the remarkable memories it’s associated with, makes it to the favorite food category. One of my favorite foods is related to my childhood memories with my Grandma. Being from a traditional Italian family, every Sunday we would get together and she would make “Pasta Bolognese with Braciola”. Today, I can still remember that taste in my mouth, every time I think of it. One of my other favorites is the “Beef Stroganoff” made by my mom. It’s the first dish that I ask her to do every time she comes to see me here. If I could list all of my favorites, it will probably turn into a book!
- What was your inspiration that led you to wanting to become a chef?
I have always been a food connoisseur and I believe that food and happiness go hand-in-hand. I have seen people spread happiness through their creativity in food. This has inspired me to pursue my career as a chef and to be able to spread the well being through the food I create.
- What is the most important thing you learned so far at CIL?
In Culinary Arts, it’s important to learn the techniques in the beginning. It’s absolutely necessary to be proficient in them as we will be using them throughout the career. The recipes can be altered but having the right technique is a must. In Baking & Pastry, we must follow the recipe because any alteration can lead to an undesirable result.
- Describe your class room experience
One of the thing I like about the classroom at LeNôtre is, the small size classes. It allows the student to have direct interaction with Chefs and Professors. All the staff at Le Notre is very attentive of student needs and make the environment very comfortable for the student. The labs are very hands on and having the labs everyday gives you a very close feel of working in a real time environment from the beginning. In Culinary Arts, I really enjoyed my lab classes with Chef Pascal, with whom I studied for three labs. He pushed me to explore my potential to the maximum and taught important skills that I will be using throughout my career in culinary arts. I am very thankful for what I have learned from him. In Baking & Pastry, Chef Francis has helped me to know the recipes from bottom to top, to understand the importance of why we choose particular ingredients and procedures. I can implement these skills to make my own Gluten Free recipes.
- What is the most important subject at school right now?
I am enjoying the Sommelier class this term. I am very fond of wine, but this is the first time I am learning about wine from different and a detailed perspective. I love to make breads, so the lab class has been very entertaining.
- Your coming from Brazil. How is it like to be an international at the school, in Houston?
I come from a big city so adjusting to Houston was easy. The language at times can be a challenge, especially the technical terms used in Culinary courses, but with time it has become very familiar.
- What would you say to the students interested in studying Baking & Pastry Arts?
The classes and labs are designed at LeNôtre with a lot of details. One big advantage that I think in comparison to other institutes, is that the labs are everyday so it really keeps you in tune. I have a Gluten Allergy and the chefs and everyone else have been very accommodating of it and allowed me to study with the mask in the lab. I really think as long as you are passionate about it, they will find a way to make you learn the essentials.
- Do you have any hobbies?
I love to read and I am passionate about cars. I am currently training my German Shepherd as I want her to be a citizen canine. At times, I like to convert my kitchen in the lab and experiment various dishes and try them with my husband.
- Anything you would like to add?
I would like to convey a special thanks to everyone I met at LeNôtre in guiding me through the time I have been here. I hope to carry the name along with me and present it proudly with me as I pursue my career in the world of Cuisine.