The Importance of Being Nice

The Importance of Being Nice

Chefs & Experts

The Importance of Being Nice


Allison Cox is serving a 18-week externship at The Food Channel® as part of her training at the Culinary Institute of America. In this blog she will provide her perspective on her inclination toward food, her training, and her experiences.

Last week: Allison talked about the diversity of students at the Culinary Institute of America, and how her preconceived notions about the type of person who goes into the culinary field sometimes differed from the reality. To read it, click here

Random Lessons in Hospitality

When you’re a student at a culinary school, food isn’t the only thing on the learning menu. Culinary school translates into hospitality school. To get people to eat your food or come to your restaurant, you have to be nice to them. This may seem surprising because we’ve all gone back to places where we weren’t treated so kindly but we just had to have that soufflé again. So basically you don’t have to treat customers well, but it certainly helps.

We have around a quarter million tourists visiting our Hyde Park campus every year, so whenever you emerge from your dorm room, you have to be ready to meet-n-greet. If I had a nickel for every time I have been asked where the Escoffier Restaurant is located….

My Picture’s in Photo Albums of Families I Don’t Even Know

But it’s great practice for being caught off-guard and still keeping your charm. After being asked many times if they can have a picture taken with a student in their ‘whites,’ I feel almost like a celebrity myself. Plus, it’s fun to watch other people go through the same feelings of awe I went through when I first visited campus.

I was seventeen when I first checked out my future school. I was utterly overwhelmed with the idea that an institution like this existed at all. It was early fall, and from the statuesque and powerful Roth Hall there was the most breathtaking view over the amber colored trees lining the Hudson River. I kept thinking, ‘This is what students here see every day? They take class in buildings like this?’ After touring through the halls and halls of kitchens, and observing future chefs in action, I was brought to tears in excitement. Nothing could keep me away from this place.

Not only are there tourists sauntering around the grounds, but there are also prospective students. It’s pretty sweet to witness their reactions because I know they, too, will feel compelled to return here one day.


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