I’m Chef Erin Coopey, the Director of Education at Arizona Culinary Institute. I teach Food and Beverage Management and Career Development.
I’ve always loved cooking and entertaining, but I came to the professional culinary world in a round-about way. While attending university, I worked as a singing waitress and later as a server in fine dining restaurants. After receiving my bachelor’s degree from ASU, I went on to work as the Food & Beverage Cost Analyst at the Arizona Biltmore. Over the next few years, I also worked as a professional photographer, a fund raiser, taught English in Japan, and planned large corporate events all over the world from Sydney to Paris.
Though my experiences were interesting, I never felt particularly fulfilled in my work. I wanted to do something real and meaningful. So, in 2005, I finally decided to follow my heart and attend culinary school. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made!
After culinary school, I opened a high-end catering company specializing in multi-course wine pairing dinners. I was also asked to teach in the culinary program at Scottsdale Community College. In 2007, my husband and I moved to Seattle, where I took a position as the Director of Catering for Metropolitan Market. Later I started The Wine Pairing Chef, a recipe development company focused on creating recipes for small wineries to use as marketing tools. I partnered with an ex-pat couple in Mexico to start a culinary tour company called Culinario de Mexico. And I began teaching again. It wasn’t long before teaching became my fulltime gig. I developed and taught 100s of classes for numerous schools and businesses in Seattle.
Along the way, I started writing and photographing food, as well. I’ve written two cookbooks, and numerous articles for magazines and websites. My first cookbook, The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook, was nominated for a IACP Julia Child Best First Cookbook Award. I’ve also appeared on many television programs, including winning $20K on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games. It’s been a wild ride, for sure!
I’m thrilled to be teaching at ACI. Combining my love of food and teaching makes me so happy. The management class combines so many fun and interesting things from menu development and wine pairing to business management and goal setting. I know you’ll love it too!
Can’t wait to see you in class!
Arizona Culinary Institute, Director of Education