The student of the month for May is San Fernando Valley, California native John Freeman. The father of five, ranging in ages 21-30, is constantly challenging himself to try new things and step outside the box. “I’ve always been good at cooking, and I was looking for a career change. Culinary is more along the lines of what I enjoy doing, so I wanted to do something I liked as opposed to something that just made money.” John’s prior experience with culinary began in Transportation and Food Service in the Military kitchens. “There were days when we would serve thousands of people or just serve our battalion or platoon. I really loved cooking out in the field.” John loves the creativity, freedom, and enjoyment that other people get to experience from the food he creates.

John has enjoyed every class he has taken at ACI so far. “Every class I have learned and grown from immensely. Every instructor has been awesome, and I have no complaints as long as I am learning. Advanced Baking was definitely out of my element, but I was really proud of my wedding cake. I didn’t think I could do it, but I went in a different direction and it turned out really great.” John doesn’t think he has faced any challenges that were difficult to deal with. He has no regrets because, “Everything I’ve gone through in my life, good or bad, I wouldn’t be where I am today had I done anything differently.”

When he’s not creating in the kitchen, John enjoys off-roading and four-wheeling in the desert. He is also fond of helping people out who are in need. “Once or twice a month, my wife and I will pay for a person’s groceries or pay for someone’s bill at a restaurant without them knowing. I started doing it two or three years ago because life got better for my family financially. It’s not that I have more, but I have what I need and there are other people that have less than they need.”

John’s post-graduation plans consist of taking time off to spend time with his father and opening up a business. “I want to open up a sandwich shop where I bake my own breads, slice my own meats, and highlight creative desserts. I make an awesome cheesecake.” John does know that he doesn’t want to be boring. “I want my life to be exciting. I’ve always been in a little box, but I’m taking little steps to be more creative.”