Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Sep 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Fresh Meat

dining ameliaOne of four Cabrillo College students featured in new Cooking Channel series spills the beans about ‘The Freshman Class: Santa Cruz’

What do you want to be when you grow up? Chances are, you were asked that question at least once as a child. For Amalia Laugesen, the answer was always “teacher.” But life had other plans for her.

At 21, Laugesen had her first of four children. And this past summer—14 years after her oldest was born—the San Jose resident found herself once again faced with that question.

“I’ve always kind of known that when my kids got older, I could finally figure out what it is that I want to do when I grow up,” she says with a laugh. “I could have gone back to [teaching], but instead, I realized that this is a time for me to do what I really want. I should explore what I’m passionate about.”

She found that passion rather accidentally, while taking a cooking class at Sur La Table. The instructor informed the students that she had graduated from the prestigious Cabrillo College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program, and Laugesen began to wonder if she also had what it takes.

“I’ve always loved cooking and baking,” she says. “And my mom’s always said I should go to culinary school, but I always laughed at the thought.”

Despite her apprehension, she mustered up the courage to enroll in the program at Cabrillo for the fall of 2013.

It wasn’t until she arrived that she found out that The Freshman Class, a documentary television series on Cooking Channel, which follows four aspiring chefs in their first semester of culinary school, was heading to Santa Cruz to film its second season.

When the film crew reached out to the students in Cabrillo’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program in the hopes of finding four to feature, Laugesen’s gut reaction was, “What would they care about a 35-year-old mom?” But, after mulling it over some more, she decided to give it a shot.

Laugesen, along with three classmates—an injured navy veteran named Jim, a former gang member named Gabriel, and a culinary school dropout named Kim—were all selected to be on the show. The first of eight episodes of The Freshman Class: Santa Cruz will air on Cooking Channel at 8 p.m. on March 11.

The film crew documented the four students at school, and occasionally at their homes and workplaces. For Laugesen, the experience of being on camera was challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

dining amelia2San Jose resident Amalia Laugesen practices the art of precision during a course at the Cabrillo College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program. “It’s tricky making sure that everybody feels comfortable,” Laugesen says of inviting the camera crew into her home. “But the crew was really amazing. For me, they felt like an extension of my family.

“In my experience, you kind of forget about the cameras,” she goes on. “I got really comfortable, to the point where it wasn’t weird to be like, ‘OK, I’m going to the bathroom now, I’m going to turn my microphone off.’”

But with the show’s premiere right around the corner, Laugesen admits to having some anxiety. “I’m a little apprehensive about watching it,” she says.

Without giving too much away, Laugesen divulges that both her experience in the culinary program so far and on The Freshman Class have changed her.

“I started out very uncertain and unsure of myself,” she explains. “I’m [at Cabrillo] with talented people that are, for the most part, 19 or 20, and have already found their passion at such a young age. And here I am, this older person, who just figured out what she wants to do. It’s intimidating.”

Those fears were put to the test on multiple occasions during her first semester in the culinary program, particularly when she had to work at Cabrillo College’s highly regarded, student-run Pino Alto Restaurant and cater actual events around town.

“When you’re thrown into a situation like that, you’re going to learn a ton and it will be hard,” she says. “This is real life. You’re serving paying customers at the restaurant, and, in some cases, you’re serving food at a wedding—the most important day of someone’s life.”

It’s only been a few months since she entered the program, but Laugesen says she’s feeling confident and aspires to own her own bakery one day.

“Most of us only get one shot to do something in life,” she says. “And, for me, everything just kind of fell into place.” 


‘The Freshman Class: Santa Cruz’ premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 11 on Cooking Channel. For more information, visit cookingchanneltv.com. Photos: Cooking Channel

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 4

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs