As many refined gourmands would say, a large part of the fine dining experience lies within the presentation. Meet Macomb culinary student Aubrey Davis. Aspiring to start her own personal chef business, she derives as much satisfaction from crafting meals that tantalize the taste buds as she does turning them into masterful works of art.
“My favorite thing to do is make a beautiful plate of food that somebody takes a bite and they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh! This is so good!’” Davis expresses. “Like, they get that face of, ‘So good!’”
While cooking always served as a hobby for Davis, it wasn’t her initial career path. She previously obtained a teaching degree in secondary education, Spanish and English, from Western Michigan University. When her then boyfriend moved to Massachusetts, he invited her to join him. She started teaching in a charter school. The pair got married, and then returned to Michigan “to be closer to family, and think about starting our own family.”
After teaching for nearly 10 years, Davis became a stay-at-home mom to her four children, including triplets. As her kids approached school age, she questioned her desire to resume teaching. “I enjoyed it,” she relates. “But, I could tell it wasn’t really my passion.” She then decided to revisit her preferred sideline activity and turn it into something more.
Davis began researching culinary schools, and first discovered Macomb through word of mouth. Living in Clinton Township, she appreciated that it was close to home. Beyond that, the reasonable tuition helped her gravitate toward the college.
“The cost is incredibly more affordable than any other culinary program that I’ve found. That kind of got me here,” says Davis. “And, now I’m completely hooked.”
Given the level of praise Davis bestows upon Macomb’s faculty, it’s safe to assume they would receive Michelin’s three-star rating, the publication’s highest honor, if they assigned rankings to members of the teaching profession. Whereas students “might feel like you’re more anonymous” in larger culinary programs, says Davis, Macomb’s professors “get to know you and want to figure out how to connect you with opportunities that would really help you further where you want to go with your cooking.”
Unexpectedly, Davis has developed an appetite for participating in competitions throughout her academic journey. Tasked with preparing a multicourse meal within a strict time limit, it sounds like an undertaking that would make even the most seasoned chef sweat.
“At first, I did not know that I would even like competitions,” shares Davis. “I was so, so super nervous.”
Now, having taken part in five challenges, Davis is seemingly an expert, and has brought home several gold medals. She says that they provide her with an almost “one-on-one education,” practicing dishes she otherwise wouldn’t have tackled in class.
“I’ve learned so many more advanced sauces and different techniques,” adds Davis. “[It’s] like frosting on the Macomb cake, for me.”
Anticipating to graduate after the winter 2020 semester, the end of Davis’ studies looms on the horizon. But, she won’t be completing them without reservation.
“I don’t really want to graduate [from Macomb],” laments Davis, “because I love it so much.”