Alumni Choose Kitchen Over College: Isabella Array ’17

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At the National Gourmet Institute, Array works on a glaze for a fruit tart.
Photo Credit: Array

Array works on her sautee techniqueat the National Gourmet Institute.

Array ‘17 was a Neuroscience major and on the Pre-Medical track at Washington University in St. Louis. One summer, she filled out an application on a whim to be the assistant chef at a camp for social justice. She said, “ Everything there was entirely vegan since it was climate focused. I was working in these miserable conditions in the kitchen of a farm for 12 hours a day, no AC, and I just loved it so much.

Array had an epiphany. “I was like, wait a second, I can’t go back to college. I need to do something from this.”

“One foot in front of the other. Take it moment by moment. Keep moving forward and moving through it.”

Array graduated from the National Gourmet Institute this year and is now specializing in vegan cooking in New York City.  She said, “It was becoming a vegan that got me to be into cooking at all just because my parents had no idea how to feed me. It is a lot of fun, it is a little science experiment every time I cook.”

With this amazing plan for her future, her only fear is regret. She explains, “Sometimes I do think of if I will be enjoying this at 40, 50, 60 years old. It is not as secure and I am scared of all this all going poorly.”

In the coming years, she sees herself in New York City and wants “to stick to restaurants for the time being because I love the thrill and the intensity of the kitchen.”