about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Culinary School

During the summer of 2009, I shocked many friends and family by announcing that I was quitting my job and heading down to Charlotte, North Carolina to go to Johnson and Wales University and get my Culinary Arts degree.  It was a life changing decision that has truly transformed both my personal and professional aspirations.  I am living proof that it is never too late to start over or follow your dreams.  Here is a detailed look into what has become the most exciting and fulfilling year of my life…

Make sure to check the Culinary School Frequently Asked Questions page too!

General Posts

Below is an overview and links to posts about each and every culinary lab I have taken.  The way that the culinary lab schedule works, you take the same class every day for 9 days in a row, and then move on to the next class.  In addition, you work with the same block of students for 5 classes in a row (one term).  Spending all day every day with the same group of 20 students leads to some great friendships and interesting stories…

Freshman Culinary Labs – First Term

Fundamentals of Food Service Preparation – this class focused on three cooking techniques: baking, shallow-frying, and sautéing.  It was my first class and I was so nervous!

After my first class, I took a lot of pictures during school, but got really overwhelmed with school work and started neglecting my blog.  In hindsight I am totally kicking myself!  I still have the pictures from these classes, and hope to do “catching up” type posts eventually.

Skills of Meatcutting – exactly what it sounds like.  We worked in a freezing cold meat cooler all day long and cut up various meat carcasses.  It didn’t bother me as much as people assumed it would, but I am glad to have it overwith.  I don’t think my future career path will include butchering!

Purchasing and Product Identification – in this class we worked in the storeroom and receiving area of the school.  We filled the requisition orders for each classroom each day, and learned all about identifying all sorts of produce, grains, etc.  It was a really interesting class, and because of my vegetarian and adventurous diet, I totally rocked all of the product identification for “exotic” foods.

Principles of Beverage Service – nine days of bartending!  We worked in a classroom that looked just like a bar, and we learned everything there is to know about wine, beer, and spirits.  At the end, I passed an exam giving me my ServeSafe Alcohol Certification – good to have if I ever decide to become a bartender!  :)

Nutrition and Sensory Analysis – how horrible that I never showed you guys my Nutrition class, I know!  :(  This class wasn’t actually as nutritious as I had hoped, but there was one entire day devoted to vegetarian cuisine.  The cooking techniques we focused on were poaching and steaming.  We made a lot of vegetable dishes and talked about alternative food choices – overall a really good class.

Freshman Culinary Labs – Second Term

By the time second term came around, I had gotten into a good routine and was able to balance blogging and school work much more easily.  The recaps became daily after the first class…

Traditional European Cuisine – we learned the basic techniques of braising and stewing, which meant that we cooked tough cuts of exotic protein every day – oxtails, rabbit, monkfish, you name it.  I hated the food in this class, but still learned a lot, and that’s what matters.

New World Cuisine – in New World we learned three more techniques: grilling, deep-frying, and roasting.  I loved the food in this class, and gained a lot more confidence in my cooking.  So many delicious vegetable dishes and salads – a nice break from my previous class of only braised meats…

Introduction to Baking and Pastry – I absolutely loved my first baking class.  We made breads, rolls, croissants, muffins – you name it.  In another life I think I was meant to be a baker.

Stocks, Sauces, and Soups – this class was incredibly challenging, but also completely essential.  I learned so many fundamental basics of cooking – mother sauces, stock ratios, and more.  Plus I LOVE soup, so this class was a win, win for me.

Essentials of Dining Room – I dreaded this class from day one of culinary school.  We had to work as wait staff in a dining room serving other students – very high potential for embarrassment and awkward situations.  I ended up finding that after a few days I got used to it though, and by the end I was sad that my Freshman year was over. :(

Sophomore Culinary Labs – Third Term

International Cuisine – We came back after Spring Break as Sophomores – so weird!  New classmates and a new uniform, as well as a new set of expectations as students.  This was hands down my favorite class (and Chef!) of my entire program.  So much amazing food – I wish it could have lasted so much longer.

Advanced Dining Room & Procedures – Another, more intense class serving students in a different dining room.  This time we had to do things like tableside cooking, clearing and stacking plates, serving wine, etc.  The curriculum for this class was very heavy on wine knowledge, and it was probably my most challenging class academically.  Go figure!

Advanced Patisserie and Desserts – My second Baking & Pastry class, which I loved just as much as the first.  This class was all about plating desserts to be served in the dining room.  We made a lot of fun things that were new to me – ice cream, mousse, soufflés, cheesecake, sugar work, and more.  This class tested my limits on tasting everything in sight…

Classical French Cuisine – This was the class I was most nervous for since the day that I started culinary school.  Both the class and the Chef had intense reputations – both of which were proven wrong over nine days.  I never would have expected that this would end up being one of my favorite classes of all.  Chef Tiess was amazing, and one of the best teachers I’ve had all year.  Although I wouldn’t eat a thing (sooo much meat!), I learned a lot – mostly about my level of self-confidence.

Garde Manger – This class was really unusual because it was all about cold food.  For 14 classes we had focused on cooking, and suddenly everything we did needed to be refrigerated!  This was the single most challenge class for me as a vegetarian – more meat products than I ever imagined possible.  While the food was less than appealing, I learned a lot about plate presentations and the visual aspects of food.

Don’t forget to check out the Culinary School Frequently Asked Questions too!

41 Comments so far
Leave a comment

barefootgirl27 (our first CSA)     at 12:01 pm

I have recently found your blog & am enjoying reading it :)

I also surprised my friends & family when I decided to attend

J&W .(Providence campus) as a 36 year old freshman!!

I’ve enjoyed reading you overview of the particular courses.. It’s brought back fun memories!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awesome!! How fun that we have such similar stories. :) I like to re-read the posts too.


Melissa Reply:

I at 39 am starting JWU in a few weeks, but only weekends. I found your blog just now! as I sit here everyday wondering what each class will be about this has lifted a bit of stress off of me!

I am hoping to have fun & live my dream. (of course I still will be working 40hrs a week in my geeky computer job so I hope this time flies by!! :)

I will continue to check out your blog! thank you so much!


Jenny     at 11:38 am

I’m about to start culinary school and I am SO nervous! I’ll be reading all about your adventures to hopefully get a good idea about what I’m getting myself into! : )


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Sharon     at 3:16 am

I just came across your blog from fitnessista.com and I love reading all about your culinary school adventures, it feels like I almost there. I would love to go to cooking school, but I already have a degree in IT. I love to play around with different types of recipes, and I am definately gaining some insight into a few things from this blog.. I am going to make the cucumber cup black bean salad for my next party hope they come out as pretty.. THANKS!


Emily Malone Reply:

Welcome! So glad you found me! :)


Bailey     at 12:40 pm

I’m so glad I found your blog! I was the exact OPPOSITE! I always loved to cook and was set on being a chef from the time I was 12, until I went to culinary school (JWU providence) straight out of high school, got a job as a banquet chef and realized that cooking commercially was not for me :( I still love to cook and while I’m not vegetarian, I love to try out new veg-friendly recipes since I have a lot of friends that are! I look forward to seeing more recipes from you, so far I have to say, you have GREAT taste!

I’m in school now getting my bachelors in chemistry, but you’d be surprised how similar the two are! The culinary end of it is all about how it tastes and how it looks. The chemistry end of it is WHY it tastes the way it does, HOW to make it taste like that, and what is going on in the process! Not as big of a leap as I thought after all…

:) Cheers!


Bailey     at 12:42 pm

Oh, and I have to say, the uniforms are MUCH nicer looking than they were back in ’06!


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Jane Pilanski     at 8:34 am

I cannot wait to do this at their Providence campus!


Meghan     at 6:47 am

I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now. I’m also pregnant with our first and have love referring to your blog for how much you’re showing and how you’re feeling. My brother-in-law is going to Johnson & Wales and loves it. He is doing an internship in Napa Valley right now and just received a scholarship from Emeril. We live in the Charlotte area and apparently Emeril is opening a restaurant in the area and talked to my brother in law about possibly hiring him!!! Love your blog!


Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats to YOU!! And how cool about your brother and the Emeril restaurant – that is awesome!


Jennifer     at 10:49 am

Hi Emily,

I was wondering if you had a post about how you decided on J&W and their program. I quit my desk job August 1st and I have been researching different schools and degree programs. I would be interested to see how you were able to reasearch, narrow down your options etc. Did you know who wanted to work as a chef? Or was that just a means to an end for you?
Thank you!!!


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Calvin     at 1:25 pm

I really, really like this blog, but it’s not just for all the food. I just read through all your posts on going from your desk job to deciding on culinary school in ye olde Charlotte (funny, I have family there, and I myself live in Raleigh…3 hrs northeasterly). I saw this and I realized that what you said is true. It’s never too late to start over. You can change things when they are not what you want them to be. It’s inspirational. I am happy to have found this. Consider me subscribed.


Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Twenty Minute Meals.     at 9:32 am

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Jen Lang     at 12:52 pm

Wow Emily, you’ve really put together an awesome, in-depth, behind the scenes look at the stepping stones and path you’ve been on… how exciting!

I loved how you mentioned taking pictures during class – that’s an awesome tip that any student can use to keep things in mind and remember them.

As this is my first visit to the site today, I’ll be looking through the rest of the tips and articles – super helpful, thanks for all the value you provide.


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Lienna     at 2:47 pm

Thank you so much for posting your adventure at JWU in such details, the rest of the site is just awesome.
I am looking to attending JWU at Denver with their Garnish Your Degree program and researching about JWU led me to your blog. My BS was in Dietetic/Nutrition but I found myself liking to practice and apply the concept of healthy food rather than talking about it. I’m however really concern about what will I do after culinary school?
I hope you can share with me on your culinary journey, what other career paths have you encountered with your education background?



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Beth     at 8:28 am

Do you need to taste the breads and pastries, etc? I have a gluten intolerance and cannot eat gluten, but I want to go to culinary school!!! Is it possible? Did you have to eat the meat?


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Priscilla     at 6:53 pm

I have really enjoyed reading your blogs! I stumbled across your page when I was researching JWU in Miami. Im so glad to have found someone else who is kinda in the same boat I am. Im 33 y/o and made a huge lifestyle change about 6 years ago after having gastric bypass surgery and losing 150 lbs!! I have managed to keep my weight off and have been told that I’m one of the few. Maintaining my weight loss and being healthy have become very big factors in the way I live and eat. So I have learned that if I still wanted to enjoy eating a variety of foods that I would have to become creative in the kitchen. Im so happy that I did!! After some time I have grown to love many of my creations that I would of never have normally tried, unless I was forced to. Since food has always been such a big part of my life,(now just in a healthier version), I want to be able to share that joy with other people and show them they can still eat foods they love, just with a few minor tweeks here and there. I too have been torn between going back to school for nutrition/dietetics or cooking, but decided that I love working with my hands and being creative. I know educating people on healthy eating is great but being able to actually show them by preparing those foods, I think is a million times greater!!! Your story is motivational, and makes me feel good to know that its never too late to follow your dreams!


Emily Malone Reply:

Wow how cool!! Glad you found me. :) Sounds like you have a wonderful journey ahead!


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DANIEL     at 8:29 am

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I just came across your blog from fitnessista.com and I love reading all about your culinary school adventures, it feels like I almost there.


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