2009 Clay Triplette Scholarship Recipient Tiffany Li

2009 Clay Triplette scholarship recipient Tiffany Li is attending culinary school at George Brown College in Toronto while simultaneously working towards her graduate degree in education. Upon graduation from both programs, she hopes to bridge her two interests by bringing food studies and culinary skills into her classroom. Li recently wrote to us to explain how she chose this career path.

Since I was a child, I loved tinkering in the kitchen. When I was little, my mom would do all these wonderful activities with my sister and me: making a gingerbread house, cooking rice flour crepes and waffles for brunch, making fried chicken, chocolate truffles, and banana bread. My grandmother was also a fabulous cook. I remember her roasting a whole pig for our Christmas dinner one year. The meat was so succulent and juicy; it was cushioned by a layer of fat, and the exterior had that hallmark crackly-crispy skin we all fought for at the table.

When I lived on my own for the first time as an undergraduate student, I began to refine my skills further, in part because I was dissatisfied with the type of unappealing and highly processed foods my university offered. And baking was my stress relief from all that studying. I wanted to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with my fellow peers so I pitched a food column to my undergraduate newspaper, entitled Savory Bites. The column was focused on healthy eating with dishes students could prepare within a half-hour.

Upon graduation, I was in between contract jobs (from being a teacher’s assistant to working as a sous-pastry chef at a restaurant). While I enjoyed working in both spheres, there was something so pleasurable about working in the kitchen besides someone else who had the same fire and passion as I did about food. I knew I wanted to attend culinary school but I couldn’t afford it, that is, until I applied for the James Beard scholarship and became a recipient!  Suddenly, something that I had planned to do down the road popped up in front of me.

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