Stapp Inspires Educator Spotlight- A Cut Above

Welcome back to our Stapp Inspires Educator Highlight series! We are excited to introduce you to Hope Nazzaro, Culinary Instructor at the Career and Development Center (CDC). Hope is in her 15th year of teaching, having spent the last three years at CDC. She had previously taught at Skyline and Frederick High School. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Family Consumer Science.

Hope Nazzaro

 

Before we settled down to begin our interview, Hope gave me a tour of the kitchen her students use on a daily basis. It’s a very professional kitchen. One of the myths that Hope quickly dispelled was that her classes were similar to the ‘home ec’ days of the past. Far from it.

 

Currently, culinary students complete a program called ProStart. This is a nationally recognized program that students complete over the course of a year. The CDC offers ProStart 1 and ProStart 2 with plans to add ProStart 3 in the future. The program offers students industry certifications they can use upon graduation. First year students are certified as ‘ServSafe Food Handlers’ while second year students complete the ‘ServSafe Manager’ program. These programs help students become industry ready and provide them an edge on the competition when applying for jobs or culinary school. Students are also able to earn college credit from Metro State.

 

Over the past three years Hope and her students have been busy. They attended the Denver Wine and Food Festival where they presented roughly 2,000 servings and competed at the Family Career Community Leaders of America. Each year they continue to improve. They also run Sunrise Cafe, which is an on-site restaurant that is open to the community three days a week for breakfast and lunch.

 

I asked Hope if she went to culinary school or had a lot of restaurant experience in her past. She mostly worked in restaurants throughout college, but also studied food science while attending CSU. I was struck by this. What a great example she is for her students. She never stopped learning or improving her skills. She rose to the challenge of starting a new program from the ground up and met it head on.

 

Hope is in a unique position with her students. She strives to instill valuable skills within her students to be successful in the culinary industry but also the skills to be successful adults. She reinforces accountability and responsibility with her students on a daily basis. This has led to some students labeling her “hard” or “mean”. This doesn’t bother Hope. “If I let up a bit, that’s how accidents in the kitchen happen.”

 

Hope realizes some of her students will choose to pursue other fields of study, but encourages them to stay current with their certifications, to continue to develop skills and to make contacts with other professionals. She wants her students to always have a backup plan. Sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned. The skills and certifications students gain in class can help them through tough times as they plan next steps.

 

I asked Hope what was the one thing she hoped every student would take away from her class. “Excuses are going to set you behind. Make sure you have the right mental attitude and keep going, you can do it.”

 

Hope, thank you for taking the time to meet with us. We wish you the best!

 

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2 Responses

  1. I love that I saw this. I am one of her previous students. With out her I would of never followed my dreams. She pushed me to finish culinary school. She is one of my biggest inspiration and someone I look up to. Love always one of your first pro starts students

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