From the USA urban jungle to the Swiss Alps: Tyler’s journey to culinary excellence
This week we had a chance to hear the inspiring story of Tyler’s journey as a culinary student from the US to the prestigious Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland (CAAS). With his current role as events manager of the CAAS Wine club and an upcoming internship at the world-renowned Boury restaurant, Tyler is well on his way to becoming a top chef. Join us for an exclusive interview with Tyler and discover how he’s following his passion for cooking and leaving his mark in the culinary industry through hard work and dedication. Don’t miss this opportunity to be motivated by Tyler’s story!
What inspired you to pursue culinary studies in Switzerland?
After living in some of the biggest cities in the USA from New York to Los Angeles and recently Chicago, I knew I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and try something crazy and do something out of the country. Switzerland has always been a dream but never thought I would actually be able to live it.
We are curious to hear about your transition to Europe! Can you share your experience with the process of obtaining a visa and preparing the necessary documents for your move to Switzerland from the USA? Did you face any challenges along the way?
The process is very smooth, although the paperwork can be somewhat extensive, it is quite straightforward to figure out. Took me a couple months from start to finish. The CAAS school counselor was very helpful with all questions I did end up having.
You are studying at CAAS for six months already. What was your culinary experience before coming to the school? Since you started studying, what cooking techniques have you learned?
I have always been in and out of the restaurants since high school. After graduating from high school, I decided to join the Army, but when I got out, I went back to what I knew best: working in restaurants. From being a busboy to being a bar manager, I worked my way up from the bottom.
When the chef left at my most recent job, there was no one to fill the position so I tried my best knowing I have been working the front of the house my whole career then switched to leading a kitchen knowing not a whole lot; I fell in love with it. I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I was directing a team not knowing the fundamentals myself. I decided if I really wanted to continue this and be my absolute best I needed to go somewhere and learn.
CAAS has made an impact with classic cooking fundamentals and amazing chefs teaching you everything you need to know, all the way up to beautiful garnishes, over the last 6 months. You get to learn how to produce food for large amounts of people which is always a good starting point and then slowly start to move on to smaller plating later on. During term 2, you begin pastry class and learn the fundamentals of the craft, as well as how to be precise and follow procedures to the gram. Overall the past 6 months have been an action pact and filled with useful knowledge all future chefs should know.
What are the main differences between the culinary culture in Switzerland and the USA?
It is a lot smaller and very simple. Feels like the culture here likes to stick with what has always been working. As they always say, if it is not broken, don’t fix it.
What unique culinary experiences can American students expect to have while studying at the CAAS?
To be working with people you would never have thought you would ever meet and all the diverse culture, every term some of the students from different countries get together and produce food from their home countries so you technically enjoy food from all around the world.
A huge part of studying at CAAS is internships. What are your plans for it, do you already know where you would like to do an internship?
In June, I will be going to Belgium to do my internship at Boury, which recently was awarded its third Michelin star. It has always been a dream to be able to work at such a speed and elegance like this restaurant runs.
We heard that you recently joined the CAAS Wine club as an events manager, congratulations! Can you tell us more about the wine club and the responsibilities of your position?
In my first term, I became a member and enjoyed the way it was run. It was also a great way for me to meet new people. It’s an amazing way to learn all sorts of wine from all round the world.
My enthusiasm for the club did not fade during my second term, so I joined the committee. Every week, we focus on a different topic, such as grape variety or old world vs. new world wines. In terms of responsibilities, you are usually given one wine, sometimes two, to research and present to the club, and on occasion we are called upon to run some beverage-related events, which is always a good time.
How has your experience living in Switzerland been so far? What kind of activities do you have during your free time and how is your leisure time different here than in the USA?
It feels like everything is a green screen. It’s so breathtaking the view everyday. In my free time I usually like to relax by the lake. Hiking is another thing I have done, but the best part is visiting different countries that are so close! During mid-term break me and some friends took a trip to Barcelona and it was an amazing time. Switzerland is a country where photographs simply do not do it justice. Living here is an everyday dream.
How do you think your culinary studies in Switzerland will enrich your life personally and professionally?
I believe that by coming here, I have set myself up for success as long as I continue to work hard and pursue my passions. Personally coming here has opened my eyes on how there’re so many amazing people all around the world that you just have to put yourself out there to meet. Another thing that I am thankful for is after studying how you get to pick an internship, I believe that the internship will mold my future.
There are a lot of students from America that are dreaming to study in Switzerland, but they have never been to Europe, thus it looks like a big step. What advice would you give them?
Close your eyes and just take the step. Before coming here I was worried if I was doing the right thing. It feels like it is a lot and of course it can be. After I finally took that step to be here I was so proud of myself so why stop there? I continued putting myself out there. It makes life more interesting and you meet amazing people, I have found out. but living here is living an everyday dream. Of course there are days you will miss home, but living in a new country is a time to show your true self, a nice do over if you think about it. The amount of friends that slowly become family to you is truly amazing.
Ready to unleash your culinary potential? Switzerland offers a world-class culinary education that combines cultural heritage, cutting-edge resources, hands-on training, and a global network. Choose Switzerland for your next culinary adventure and become a culinary professional!