Southwestern Adventist University
My name's Alejandra Rodriguez, I go by Alie, and I'm in the Baking and Pastry Program at El Centro.
My major is Baking and Pastry.
It's an associate's program.
It prepares us for the workforce and the culinary field but specifically baking pastries, such as breads, cookies, tarts, chocolates.
You can also learn sugar sculptures, chocolate sculptures, pastillage and other sorts of neat things.
I originally wanted to do culinary arts back in high school, but as I had more time to think about it, I wanted to specialize in something more specific, and since I personally have a desire for the maths and sciences, I felt that baking was more for me personally.
With baking a pastry it's more of a mathematical science.
You have to be very specific. We do weights instead of like measurements.
Like physical measurements.
And if you're off by, you know, an ounce, it can completely throw the recipe off.
So with baking, it's a very detailed profession.
I personally have a passion for bread baking.
And that was my hugest fear going into it.
That was the one thing I could not make.
Absolutely not, no matter how many times I tried at home.
I could not bake a good loaf of bread.
And it wasn't until I came to school here and Chef McDonald -- she's amazing.
She's -- I just, she's my, like, my role model and she's had so much experience in it and the way she just ex, just explains how to make bread, she treats it like it's a human almost, like, just precious.
And she gave it such value that I wanted to learn more about it. And through her class, I have learned to make bread.
And I make it at work now, and everyone loves it, and it's on the menu now. And they're like, Alie's bread.
And it's just, it's just, that's my thing now, bread baking, because of her.
Originally, I actually came from the Art Institute.
I'd been planning to go to the Art Institute for a long time, and I did attend there for about two quarters.
They have a wonderful culinary program.
But at the time their baking and pastry program wasn't up to what I wanted it to be, or expected it to be.
So, I was looking for other outlets that were possible for me.
And through just attending the Art Institute some of my friends were browsing through Facebook, and we met someone that went to El Centro.
And they were posting a lot of their pictures from a cake decorating class.
And so, just the name El Centro popped to us, and I thought oh, wow, that's really interesting.
So over the summer, I looked into it.
And I toured the campus, and gave it a shot, I went and never looked back so, I actually, I'm a very proud El Centro student and I would highly recommend this place to everybody, especially for the baking and pastry field.
We had to take two cake decorating classes here at El Centro and my gosh, the teacher is phenomenal.
She's been doing it for years, and the way, like, her passion for it, and it's, I think it's the passion that the teachers have.
It really shows that they know what they're talking about, and they care about what they're talking about.
And that they care that we learn those skills.
Like, they're passing it down to us.
And I feel like that expectation, that hope for us like for me, that really drives my personal passion.
It keeps it going.
And in cake decorating, for example, that class I really, I went in knowing nothing, absolutely n
And I came out and I, I personally think I had a really good skill.
It's not perfect, but, I have a great base to start off with, and through practice, and the passion that these teachers have given me, I can keep going and eventually become really great.
Because of El Centro, I have gained the skills that I need.
So that I can enjoy my job to the fullest, and to be able to give back.
And it's just been the most fulfilling thing I've ever had.