Leo, A Natural Leader
If you think it’s some walk in the park to have perfect attendance and maintain a 4.0 in Culinary School, you are sadly mistaken. It takes determination, dedication and the ability to ignore any type of symptom relating to cold, flu and personal injury!

Cari Olivo-Johnsen is one of those types and those types go on to be amazing Chefs and entrepreneurs. Like many culinary students, Cari wanted a program that gave her instruction in all facets of a kitchen. She aspires to the baking and pastry side of the sphere, but felt that it was necessary to understand all aspects of the art. Smart girl!

She comes from a large kind of Brady Bunch family and remembers her childhood kitchen fondly. “My Dad worked for Honeywell for 30 years, but always loved to cook,” she says. Either he or her mother would make dinner every night and they shared lots of memories baking birthday cakes, candy and of course, their families’ signature Christmas treats. “Dad always wanted to go to culinary school, so now he lives vicariously through me. The other day he pointed out a recipe for Chicken Picatta and asked if I could make it. I’d already been through Basics; so um, yea, I can make that!”

Her Aunt owned a cake decorating company for 30 years and that, along with her immediate family’s love of food, gave her the stepping stones to where she is now. “I went to community college for three years, kept changing my major, and nothing seemed to stick. After a personal loss, I was helping my Aunt in her shop and had one of those AHA! moments. It didn’t take long for me to make the decision to come to ACI.”

When asked where she sees herself in 3 years, Cari said, “Head decorator, or baker. You know, someone in charge. I’m a natural leader.” Don’t think Chef Rigollet didn’t notice. Yea, that awkward moment when your Chef asks you what sign you are! Good luck, Cari!!