RUMFORD — Dad always said, “If you do what you love for work, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

After many twists and turns on life’s journey, Kaitlyn Grassette has found work she loves. She is on her way to becoming a culinary teacher and enjoying the process of getting there.

The 2009 Mountain Valley High School graduate recently visited her alma mater to talk to former teachers and addressed Lorraine Tanguay’s culinary arts students.

Grassette explained her journey to finding her passion, “I took a few courses at University of Maine at Augusta and discovered it wasn’t for me.”

“I decided that the only class I really enjoyed was culinary arts in high school,” she continued. “So I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Boston for an associate’s degree in culinary arts and sciences. I was also involved in student government where I was the event coordinator. I created a contest like ‘Chopped’ but I called it ‘Causade,’ which means to blanche, peel and dice a tomato. I volunteered at farmers’ markets and ice cream socials around the school.”

But it was an experience outside of her class work and job that helped Grassette decide her future.

She said, “I worked there as a tutor in Le Cordon Bleu’s library. While I was a tutor, I worked with people who were older and changing careers. Some were my dad’s age. One man sticks out. At graduation, he came up to me. His eyes watered and he said without me he wouldn’t have been graduating. That’s what made me decide to teach culinary — my end goal. I want to share my passion and knowledge with others.”

While going to school, Grassette worked at a four-star French bistro called Hamersley Bistro in Boston. “I cooked for Emma Watson, (who played) Hermione in ‘Harry Potter,’” she said with a huge smile.

Grassette did an internship at Harker, a private K-12 college prep. school, in San Jose, Calif. She enjoyed the travel, “While I was there I went to San Francisco, spent a week in Los Angeles, went sky diving in Monterey Bay and hiked in the redwoods.”

Back in Maine, she created her own culinary classes at 49 Franklin Street, her parents’ business. “In the Kitchen with Kaitlyn” was well received and had a great turnout.

She applied to Johnson & Wales University in Providence and received a $27,000 scholarship. She is going for her bachelor’s degree in food service management.

Her visit to MVHS was part of her job.

“Currently, I work for Johnson & Wales as a culinary demonstrator where I travel around New England visiting high schools and vocational schools,” Grassette said. “My boss gave me a basic Asian recipe for fried rice but culinary demonstrators can be innovative. I love fall, its colors and its flavors. I decided to do a fall fried rice because it’s seasonal. It has turnip, parsnips, sweet potatoes, red onion, acorn squash, sage and rosemary. It’s vegan, low in allergens and healthy.”

She forgot to add that the dish was delicious.

Grassette knows she ultimately will need to earn at least a master’s degree before she can teach culinary arts. But that’s a ways off.

“I have an internship next,” she said. “I have a hard time deciding what to do. I can go anywhere in the world.”

From the constant smile on her face, Grassette has certainly found work she loves.

Grassette is the daughter of Scot and Cindy Grassette.


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