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 FAQ's

Below are answers to the my most frequently asked questions about culinary school.  If you have any additional questions that I haven’t answered, please feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an email.

What made you decide to go to culinary school?

After six years working at the same job I’d had since graduating college, life had grown a little stale and I no longer felt passionate about what I was doing.  I had become very interested in food and nutrition, and decided that I was ready to take a risk and try to turn my passion into a career.  Casey also gave a lot of nudges in the right direction.  :)  When I first decided to go back to school, I was torn between getting my Culinary degree or a Nutrition degree.  In the end I decided I would rather work with food and people, than talk about food with people.

How did you choose Johnson & Wales?

While still debating the Culinary vs. Nutrition decision mentioned above, I was researching programs for both all over the country.  At the same time, Casey was looking to go back to school for medicine (he later changed his program to Math).  He found a school in Miami, Florida that he wanted to attend, so I started looking at schools down there as well.  I found Johnson & Wales, and saw that it was listed as one of the top-rated culinary programs in the country.  In addition, they had a program that was a perfect fit for me called Garnish Your Degree – specifically crafted for people who held previous Bachelor’s Degrees in other fields.  When I originally applied to JWU, I was enrolled at the Miami campus.  Crazy, huh?  Two months before we were supposed to move, I had a major panic and freak out about moving all the way to Miami, and we quickly had to change our plan.  JWU had another campus in Charlotte, and Casey was able to get a last minute application into UNCC.  The rest is history!  I often wonder how different life would be if we had made that move to Miami.  I am so glad we ended up in Charlotte!

Did you have any food or restaurant experience prior to school?

No, absolutely none!  Before I started school I had this weird idea that everyone in school was going to be a budding Top Chef contestant with years and years of experience, and I would be crying in the corner still trying to figure out how to sharpen my knives.  I was completely surprised to find that over half of the students were actually scared 18 years olds just out of high school, with even less experience than me!  Obviously some students there have been in the industry for a bit, but for the most part everyone is inexperienced and clueless.  One of the best parts of being in school has been meeting such a diverse group of people from different backgrounds.

What is the hardest thing about being in culinary school?

There is nothing particularly hard about being in school, but there are definitely things that have required a bit of an adjustment.  First of all, the schedule is very different from a normal work-day schedule.  Classes start at 7:00am, and it is recommended that you get there early.  I wake up at 5am every to get ready for school and be there on time, so I usually fall asleep around 9pm now!  Also, adjusting to having large amounts of homework has been hard for me.  I worked at a desk job for six years and was very much used to having my evenings free to workout, cook dinner, and relax.  Now I do online modules, lots of homework reading, and writing papers – very strange at 29 years old!  But I get all my work done, and I am determined to graduate with a 4.0 GPA.

What is it like to be a vegetarian in culinary school?

Being a vegetarian in school is not easy – I’m not going to lie.  While other students gobble up hearty, free lunches every day, I typically pack my lunch or wait until I get home to eat.  I have been somewhat disappointed that vegetarian cooking is such an under-represented component of our curriculum, because I feel it is such an important part of global cuisine these days.  On the other hand, I feel that my presence as a vegetarian in culinary school has made a big impact on my classmates, and even some of my teachers.  Many of  my classmates have altered recipes so that I could share in the tasting, and have shared with me that my influence has taught them to think about vegetarianism and cooking in a different light.  To me that is the best compliment of all!

What is a typical day like in culinary school?

Well I have many posts (see above!) that give you a general sense of what we do all day.  But in general – class starts at 7am, and usually begins with an hour or so of lecture.  Then we break into teams and do production (which means cooking!) for the next several hours, usually until 11am.  During the next hour we break for lunch, and depending on what class we are in, we either eat the food that we made (in addition to serving another class plus staff), or we eat in another classroom or dining room.  After lunch, we spend the last hour scrubbing the classroom from floor to ceiling – literally!  Class is over at 1pm, and at that point I am usually exhausted and ready for a nap.  :)

What do you plan to do when you graduate?

Ahhh the million dollar question that I wish I had a better answer to!  To be honest, I never had a real “plan” for what I would do post-college.  My hope was that by going to school, I would figure it out along the way as I got to know my strengths and interests a little better.  My hope is to work in a vegetarian kitchen – restaurant, catering, cooking classes, etc. – and eventually get a job in the nutritional education field.  I would love to some day teach healthy cooking classes and use media as a way to educate others about living a healthy lifestyle.  I am also considering doing an online program this summer to get a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University.

Have a question that I didn’t answer above?  Feel free to leave it in the comments!

24 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Jessica Lee     at 12:56 pm

Now, that you have graduated, what do you do now?


Emily Malone Reply:

I do freelance writing and recipe submissions for magazines and other publications. I get to use my culinary school skills while working from the comfort of my own home – best of both worlds! :)


Peggy Reply:

How did you get connected to submit recipes to the magazines? What do you freelance write for? I would love to read more!


Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Peggy! Most of the magazine jobs I got actually contacted me through my blog. In a way, it’s good to think of your blog or website as a rolling resume/interview. It’s a great way for people to see how well you write, and what you have to offer. Right now I write for Self, Oprah Magazine, and a few other smaller publications.


Alex     at 10:58 pm

This my be completely irrelevant to your actual culinary experience, but how did you manage to exercise throughout the process of going to school?


Christine     at 5:15 pm

Hi Emily,

I just stumbled across your blog for the first time and LOVE it! I seem to be in a similar boat as you were in culinary school – I just made a huge career path change and enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Education. However, I’m in the night program and between a full time job, school three nights a week, a boyfriend, family and friends, it’s hard to find time to exercise. Plus, I’ve noticed the pounds starting to pack on from all the foods we make (and taste, and take home) in class. I try to stick to the healthiest ones, but was curious how you avoided gaining weight and were able to stay fit with a hectic schedule through culinary school! Any advice you could share would be really helpful :)

Best of luck to you – I’m definitely going to keep reading.



Jane Pilanski     at 8:17 am

I was just reading this; I’m half way through college right now and decided that once I graduate I’m not going to law school or to get a Ph.D like I always planned on and I decided that I WILL start Johnson & Wales programs for culinary and nutrition after (but in Rhode Island). I’m finding all your stories and class recaps very helpful and insightful – thank you!


Berkeley Rothwell     at 9:56 pm

I love baking but I don’t know if it’s just a hobby or a budding career. How did you know that you wanted to go to culinary school? Also I’m assuming that culinary school is for aspiring bakers as well? Finally, what are the lectures and homework typically like?


Tessa Kolb     at 2:42 pm

So neat! I’m currently in culinary school in Louisiana! The Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge. I’m in my second semester and I loveeeee it! Your blog is amazing :)


Amy     at 1:13 pm

Ahh your site is great! I’ve really been enjoying reading all of your posts and recipes. I am starting culinary arts at JWU this September…and I’m a vegetarian too! I have had no experience cooking meat, which scares me, but I guess that is what school is for! It was cool to read about your experience, since your a vegetarian too. Beyond health concerns, meat doesn’t even appeal to me…my stomach is not a graveyard, lol. That being said, after working on a braised piece of meat all day I’m going to be curious as to how what I have made tastes! Did you ever taste the meat and spit it out to see if it was salty enough or anything?


Emily Malone Reply:

Good luck, Amy! It was one of the best experiences of my life. Wish I could do it all over again! : ) I never tasted the meat – just the sauces.


caroline bernal     at 12:07 pm

Hi Emily!
I’m really glad I happened to come across your page. I just got my email from JWU saying I was accepted into the Garnish Your Degree program, and I was wondering if you had any advice specifically regarding what it’s like to be a “continuing education” student. Any help you could offer me would be really appreciated! Thanks



Emily Malone Reply:

CONGRATS! How exciting!! It is SUCH an amazing adventure, and I wish I’d known then just how quickly it would all FLY by. JWU does a really good job with the GYD program, and it is nice to be around others going through a similar experience. What campus will you be attending?


Vanessa     at 12:40 pm

I just stumbled upon your blog after googling ‘culinary nutrition’. I am exactly the same situation that you were and am now researching culinary programs, nutrition programs, and combined programs. I, too, don’t know exactly what I will be doing with this new education and so am not quite sure whether which focus is best – culinary or nutrition. I know culinary sounds more fun:) Anyway, I wondered if you would have any recommendations on programs to checkout based on the research that you had to do. I’m wondering if there is a way to pickup enough nutrition on the side through online programs, or certificate programs, etc. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and look forward to reading more of your blog.


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Michaella     at 5:51 pm

Hi Emily!

I stumbled upon your website after doing some research for the GYD program. I was instantly inspired by your story and I proceeded and got accepted to JWU! I am so excited! However, I just want to know the big question…HOW did you go about paying for school and did you already have loans from your bachelors degree?? I am trying to figure out how to pay myself…I would GREATLY appreciate your reply. Hope to hear from you soon!


LeMae Frame-Fitzwater     at 7:23 pm

I love to see a fellow garnish grad! Just wanted to say hello! Charlotte was by far the best choice I ever made. School was phenomenal, the chefs were awesome, competition team was very challenging, and the city of eats – well, you know what I mean! I love out of state now but would give up my shiny new Shun to hear Dean Allison’s accent again! Or see any of the chefs… I sure miss it.


mike king Reply:

If this is lemae frame from gassaway. This mike. E mail me mpking944@gmail.com


Michelle     at 12:48 pm

I’m currently in culinary school & vegan, I go through the same thing everyone eating and I bring my smoothies and fruit bowls etc, I chose to go to a normal culinary school instead of a vegeterian/vegan program so I could know how to cook other food and be versatile, what did you do when it came to tasting your food? I have yet to do it I always get another student to try my food but my chef tells me I won’t make it in the industry without it and do the ol taste and spit it out, what’s your advice?


sherraine     at 7:42 pm

hi, may name is sherr, im going to start culinary school in july.ill be majoring in baking and pastry arts,ive met alot of the alumnai and notice a good handful of them are very over weight.I’m worried i wont be able to keep my weight under control while i study and hone my talents. how can i keep my weight in check without contradicting my education?


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Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my very own website and want to learn where
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Georgetta     at 8:31 pm

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Charles Barksdale     at 8:13 pm

I would like to do the garnish your degree pastry arts program at JWU. My only concern is the cost. I have been a chef for many years. I like to stay current.


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Everything iis very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges.
It was truly informative. Yourr site is useful.

Thank you for sharing!


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