April 2016 Student of the Month – Sarah Jessop

Arizona Culinary Institute’s Student of the Month for April is Sarah Jessop. As a Utah native, Sarah says, “I have a huge family, and we’re all extremely close, so it was really tough moving away from them to come to school here.” Growing up, Sarah constantly made plates for family meals that looked pretty while grabbing bizarre ingredients from the pantry to throw together. Her decision to go to culinary school in a different state came from the fact that there wasn’t a culinary school in Utah. “Every school that I looked at online had specific programs you had to choose. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but ACI had a program where you could get a little bit of everything. Plus, I always hated regular school because it wasn’t enjoyable, and I didn’t want to get a regular degree that everyone else has.”

As a student, Sarah has maintained a 4.0 GPA while working two jobs. She says she would often skip break times so she could focus and work on certain skills. Chef Christopher Wolf, Sarah’s Basic Culinary Arts instructor, said jokingly “I couldn’t get her to smile for 5 weeks! When she finally did it was a huge relief!” Her ability to work hard throughout her program and impress her instructors is the reason why Sarah earned Student of the Month. “When I found out I was ecstatic! I’d never been so happy because I had been waiting for something like this my entire life.” Sarah attributes her success to her instructors and the cohorts in her class. “My class works very well together, and the instructors have been so awesome. There was one day when I was clearly having a tough time, and one of my instructors gave me a tiny spoon. She kept bending it back and forth, and when it wouldn’t break she said, ‘even though she’s small, she’s mighty’. That kind of encouragement has really helped me because I’ve always been so hard on myself.”

Sarah says she is amazed at what she can do and create on a daily basis. “I loved decorating cakes, and I really enjoyed Basics even though it was incredibly stressful. It was just an entirely new world to me.” She is most looking forward to having culinary knowledge and being able to use it. “I’ve learned that it’s okay to fail sometimes, and when you do fail you can’t be so hard on yourself. You make it worse on yourself when you’re not okay with failing every once in a while.” Sarah has always thought about food photography or cake decorating after her completion of the program. “I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet, but that’s okay because I can continue to learn for the rest of my life.”