When Goals do not go as Planned

Two years ago, on July 10th 2012, You would have found me in a long winding line at the casting office at Walt Disney World, awaiting my fate. I cannot believe it’s already been two years since my Culinary Internship experience at Walt Disney World, because it seems like it was just yesterday I was meeting my new roommates, and training at my new job.

I had learned about the program during my high school culinary classes. During our senior year, we were required to present a report regarding a secondary learning institution regarding culinary arts. I was hooked when I read through the brochures and surfed the web, deciphering all the information I could find. I created a goal for myself: That I was going to intern at Walt Disney World.

A week after my high school graduation I started attending summer classes at Cascade Culinary Institute– a school I would earn my degree from two years later. I signed up for a wedding cake decorating course and fell instantly in love with my school. Our small class sizes promoted one-on-one peer and instructor learning. I became friends with my teachers and my fellow classmates quite easily; each class was four hours long, four days a week for a month and a half. I loved my culinary school with such vigor, I applied myself to extra activities such as: social media director of the junior ACF club , and an active participant in various competitions. I had a plan since high school: Graduate culinary school and intern at Disney.

Student Chef

ACF Student Chef of the Year 2012

One truth I have to share with culinary students looking to apply to Disney: 9/10 participates do not work in fine dining. You know, the dining that was stuffed into our brains during our stay at culinary school. I worked in my school’s restaurant for two years, and was nominated as a student chef of the year by the ACF in 2012. I was one of the four students to be given this recognition of the western thirteen states. I was beyond excited to work in a restaurant at disney, working on the line and prepping for fantastic chefs. Instead I told them I would be open to work with quick-service. I just wanted to make a good impression and get to Disney. When I heard I was working in quick-service, I was devastated. I knew I wouldn’t be working at a fun, fancy restaurant, but at least I was still at Disney.

When my family and I had moved down to Florida from Oregon, my grandfather had been living here for a few months, soaking up the sun and flirting with all the ladies. A few weeks into my program, my grandfather passed away. My grandfather was my culinary hero; he taught me how to make caesar salad from scratch ( with anchovies!) and crepes. We would sit together and watch the food network together, while flipping through the pages of Cooks Illustrated. I miss him dearly. It’s still surreal when we receive mail to his name; like he’s on a long vacation.

I worked at All-Stars for a month and a half diligently, making burgers and baking muffins. I was surprised to find out I was selected to work at Epcot for their food and wine festival. I was completely overjoyed. I had met friends at All-Stars, but I was never challenged food-wise. I was challenged everyday production wise — breading 2 cases of chicken breast a night in an hour– but I never left work feeling fulfilled in the terms of making a great dish.

I started out working in Epcot in the country’s booths. During our orientation however, I got severely dehydrated and overheated from standing in the direct heat. I still wasn’t used to the florida weather compared to that of Oregon. A few days later I was working and it happened again. I kept getting tunnel vision, and would break out in severe sweats. This job was making me sick, and I wound up seeing a doctor, who advised me to seek a different job setting. I called the head chef and set up a meeting, and was thankful he saw potential in me to continue working. They placed me in the production kitchen (air-conditioned!) and I found my new calling; this is where I needed to be.

Rock Harper The production kitchen produced all of the food and drinks for the food and wine festival. It also ran the celebrity chef parties on certain nights. I was in heaven. I met friends, and challenged myself daily making new recipes and preparing a wide variety of dishes. I met some great people, and awed at the celebrity chefs who visited. Some friendly, ( Michael Voltaggio is a babe!) and some not so friendly (Andrew Zimmern was so rude!). Earlier in the year I had met Rock Harper, Hell’s Kitchen winner, at my student chef of the year competition. He had told me he was working at Epcot for a party and to get in contact with him during that time. I got to work with him during a “Taste of the Senses” party, which happened to be a huge highlight of the program for me.

After the food and wine festival was over, I was sent to Chef Mickey’s to work the buffet line. My entire schedule had changed to mornings, where my food and wine schedule for the past months had been late night shifts. My friends had left. My new boyfriend was moving back home. I spiraled into a depression and I terrified myself one night, sitting in my room contemplating what to do with my life. I called up my parents crying and went home for a few days to recuperate. I decided my time at disney had been fulfilled, and that I would no longer benefit anything from working at Chef Mickeys. I was in a dark place, and I always have pulls of regret not finishing my program fully. Most programs are 3-4 months, however my program was to last 9 months. I lasted 5 months before I quit my time short. I spend the day with my family at Animal Kingdom and moved out the next day. I became isolated from my other friends that were still on their programs for another three weeks — mainly my roommates whom I never got to spend enough time with. We had completely different schedules and I feel like I had different goals during this program than they did. I looked at the program as my career first, fun second. I was trying to grow up faster than I needed to. I pressured myself to be the best, and was let down when I looked upon as a failure when I quit, even when I needed to for my mental well-being. Although that depression took a little while to let go of, I finally got rid of it when I started back at school. I knew my education was not done yet, and I guess this was the universe telling me to further my education and go to a University; a school that I had never even thought I could attend because of anxiety problems.

Looking back now, I would have never been where I am now if it wasn’t for the Disney Culinary Program. I would have never moved to Florida, and I would have never taken a few months off to reevaluate my life goal. I began writing about my experiences and felt happy when I finished reading a great story, or wrote a fun article.

Today I am happy; which means the world to me. I am pursuing a different goal, a goal which suits me better both mentally and physically. I can challenge myself with words and phrases, making the story the best it can be. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” And by pursuing new goals, I am happy.

lyndsay paige


June Reading


I love to read. When I get hooked into a book, I can sit in the same spot for hours immersed in the altered reality the book provides for me. Here are the books I read in June.

june books


-12 Years a Slave-

I borrowed this book from the University library one day while I was browsing their general section. I have yet to see the movie, but I am assuming it is as heart-breaking as the book. This gut-renching tale is of a free man getting sold to slavery in the 1800’s.

According to Goodreads: “Solomon Northup was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, New York. He is noted for having been kidnapped in 1841 when enticed with a job offer. When he accompanied his supposed employers to Washington, DC, they drugged him and sold him into slavery. From Washington, DC, he was transported to New Orleans where he was sold to a plantation owner from Rapides Parish, Louisiana. After 12 years in bondage, he regained his freedom in January 1853”

At some points, the written language of the book is confusing to read, but it adds an authenticity to the memoir.

Last summer, I visited a plantation in North Carolina, and walked along the same dirt paths as they had. It was an emotional experience, and I suggest its one everyone should experience.


-Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief-

This is my current Textbook for my Creative Writing course. It provides great examples and concrete terms to guide the reader through the text.

According to Goodreads: “How can students with widely varied levels of literary experience learn to write poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama — over the course of only one semester? In Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief, David Starkey offers some solutions to the challenges of teaching the introductory creative writing course: (1) concise, accessible instruction in literary basics; (2) short models of literature to analyze, admire and emulate; (3) inventive and imaginative assignments that inspire and motivate”

I like the ideas the textbook provide; ideas to brainstorm ideas, to methods to write poetry.


-Gone Girl-

THIS BOOK WAS FANTASTIC. This physiological thriller was glued to my hands; I could not put it down. My sister is currently finishing this book up. Hayley can you read it faster so we can gossip about the characters!? 

According to Goodreads:On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?”

As a Goodreads 2012 Choice, It’s a prize-winning book full of thought provoking commentary on the psychology  of relationships — and how much you know your partner.

I heard some gossip that this novel is in the works of becoming a film, and low-and-behold there is a preview! Enjoy:


I do hope this movie adds up to the emotional outpour of the novel. Although all book lovers know: The books is always better than the movie. 


-On Writing-

This was one of my required readings for my Theory of Creative Writing Class during the first 5 weeks of my summer classes. I had read only one of Stephen King’s books : 11/22/63, and loved his style of writing. Although lengthy — 11/22/63 contained over 600 pages, I flew through the story enjoying the writing and the character development.

This book, however was a memoir and writing class all bundled into one. I learned the struggles King endured, and the persistence he had to publish his writing.

According to Goodreads:Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told

I’ll be posting soon an update of my July books soon. I haven’t gone to the library in a few days, and I’m itching to pick up another novel. I am open to  suggestions, and would love to hear your favorite summer reads.

lyndsay paige

Three Discoveries

I have made a few discoveries these past few days:

1. I love snorkeling

2. Zumba classes should include a: “May Get Drenched in Sweat” sign on their doors.

3. I have discovered the hidden flavors of pan-frying Watermelon.


Blue Springs First things first, I visited Blue Springs the other day with my family and friends. This spring is a cool 72 degrees year-round. During the winter months, hundreds of manatees and their calfs swim into the springs from the ocean to live in warmer water. I have been here during their migration, and I wanted to jump in that water and cuddle each and every one of them. I love manatees so much! (Disclaimer: Under federal law, swimmers are not allowed to touch manatees. Please only observe from a comfortable distance)

This trip however, did not give me a chance to see my majestic sea cows. After walking along a wooden boardwalk, we entered the spring down a series of steps. After swimming for a few minutes up current, we reached the hole. This thing is massive, and scuba divers frequent the caves under the surface. I donned my fins, mask, and snorkel, and explored the fish around the area. It’s so quiet under the water, and relaxing; the only sound you focus on is your own breath. When I was younger, I was terrified to snorkel, just in case I forgot how to breathe. Silly isn’t it? Now I cannot wait to find more spots to explore.

My second discovery led me to a aerobic fitness class held at my college gym. It’s Summer B now, and all the new freshman are now on campus. The gym was packed with weightlifters, basketball players, runners, but mostly freshmen. We were a few minutes late to the class and could barely find a place to stand in the classroom. IT WAS SO PACKED. We were dripping in sweat. Appetizing. Our instructor was energetic, and pumped up the entire class. At one point, three guys opened the door and looked into the class room. All the girls were bent-over shaking their thang. I looked up. They waved. Gauuhhh.

When the class finished, we hopped on over to the locker room to wash our faces. Three freshman girls, (you’ll know why they were freshman in a minute) were standing gawking at the condom dispenser. “You mean these are free?!” The blonde one says, ” Why have I been buying them?!” She then stuffs her hand into the dispenser and fishes out a random assortment. “I wonder if this actually tastes like chocolate?”

Sometimes you are just too classy for your own good.

Moving on to food, I have been slacking on my Cookbook Challenge recently. I was in two accelerated classes which ended on Thursday. I’m currently in one class, but it’s online, and it seems easier than my last classes. I was looking through Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen, and stumbled upon this gem. Pan-Fried Watermelon with Yogurt and Caramelized Walnuts. I died. It sounded too good to be true. I drove to the store, picked up the ingredients, and laid my work in front of myself.

watermelonLet me say this: Gordon Ramsay is hawt. His accent, so dreamy. His body, somebody pinch me! But most of all, his delicious biceps dishes. I read his biography during my time in culinary school, and I look up to his work ethic. It’s a fantastic read for you culinary bio lovers out there. Wherever you are.


Chef Ramsay’s food is simplistic, and brings the naturalness from the ingredients. I was craving something sweet, but healthy to satisfy my cravings. This dish was perfect, and my sister devoured it. She literally licked her plate clean.


Pan-Fried Watermelon with yogurt and caramelized walnuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


For the Watermelon:

  • 1 small or 1/2 medium watermelon
  • a little olive oil
  • powdered sugar, to dust
  • 1 3/4 – 2 Cups Greek yogurt

For the caramelized Walnuts:

  • 1 T butter
  • scant 1/4 Cup Honey
  • scant 1 Cup Walnuts


  1. In a small heavy saucepan add the butter and honey. Place this saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Once the butter has melted, add the walnuts. Stir these ingredients to make sure the walnuts are well coated. Keep this over heat for another 1-2 minutes. Once you see the mixture start to bubble and turn a golden brown you can transfer the mixture onto a waxed paper lined baking tray. Set your caramelized walnuts aside for 1-2 hours.
  2. Cut watermelon into an 1 ½  inch thick pieces. Put a little olive oil into a nonstick skillet and place over high heat. Dust the top and bottom of each watermelon with confectioner’s sugar. Place onto your nonstick skillet and pan-fry each side for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Repeat with each watermelon slice.
  3. Add a scoop of Greek yogurt to the top of each pan-fried watermelon slice. Break the walnuts into small pieces and sprinkle on top! Best served warm.

Recipe inspired by Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen 

I cook, I create, I’m incredibly excited by what I do, I’ve still got a lot to achieve. – Gordon Ramsay

Goals as a Writer: My Life 5-10 years in the Future

For one of my final assignments in my Theory of Creative Writing Class, I was asked to write out a list of goals I would like to achieve within the next five years. It’s a daunting task — I barely know what I am going to eat for my next meal, and yet I should have my life planned out for the next five to ten years. Anywho, I have an idea of where I  would like to end up, and how I started as a “writer” ( When does one become a writer? I struggled with the title Chef  when I was in Culinary School. I didn’t consider myself a chef, but when would I consider myself one? When is that moment a person transforms from home-cook to chef?)

High School Culinary Competition Team

High School Culinary Competition Team

To understand the person I want to become, I must look back at the person I was. When I was younger, I knew I was going to be a chef. The crisp white jacket, the sharp pleat in my hen’s tooth pants — A standard uniform I was destined to wear. After graduating culinary school, and working in the field for a few years, I decided I wanted to discover a different side of the culinary world. The side that I would constantly look to for inspiration and entertainment; cookbooks, blogs, newspapers, magazines. I realized who I really wanted to become.

Competing in the Semi- Finals of the ACF Student Chef of the Year Competition in Reno, NV

Competing in the Semi- Finals of the ACF Student Chef of the Year Competition in Reno, NV

I hope to accomplish a lot in the next five years. I have about a year and a half of school, then I am released into Corporate America to fend for myself. With a pen in my grasp, I plan to unearth the culinary knowledge and explain to the people why I am in love with food; the taste, the smell, the texture. From a creative perspective I can entice the reader to fall in love with the lettuce, or second guess their relations with brussels sprouts. I hope to work for a food publication company as a food writer. To write articles based on topics I found interesting, and hold knowledge of. It’s funny, people always cock their eyebrows to the side, “Huh.” they question, “That’s different.” Yes, it is different, but it’s what I want to do. And I learned to never stop following your dreams, even if they seem unusual.


I was required to include a list of 10 goals I hold for the future. Here is my tentative list:

  1. I plan to Intern at Food Network in the Magazine department in New York City
  2. Travel to Italy and experience the culture
  3. Volunteer with a writing organization
  4. Attend seminars and writing workshops
  5. Submit articles to various magazines
  6. Continue taking classes in writing after college, even if its brushing up from videos on YouTube
  7. Keep a journal with me, so I can write about my daily thoughts.
  8. Start a family. It’s ten years in the future– isn’t it?
  9. Travel around the United States – East coast mostly, I’ve already discovered the West.
  10. Take cooking classes to freshen up. I can’t write about cooking if I’m not cooking!

I was also required to write down 5 projects I plan on completing within the next 5 years:

  1. A collection of essays about my family life and myself.
  2. A successful cooking blog to record my experiences – I am currently working on one right now, but it’s in the beginning stages.
  3. The beginning of a food memoir
  4. Articles in magazines
  5. A journal to keep daily notes. I start these, all excited, then forget about them within a week.


And 3 possible career paths:

  1. Food Editor
  2. Writer for food show — i.e. “Good Eats”
  3. Test Cook — These people research recipes, write articles, and publish cookbooks


This assignment allowed me to sit back and ponder the new path I have chosen. If asked 5 years ago what I wanted to be, I would have answered, “Head Chef” or “Restaurant Owner”. It’s funny how people change. And one piece of advice: Allow the change.  Throw your head back in the wind, and take it all in.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw 

Día de los Muertos

This week in my spanish class we were assigned to present a fiesta and answer questions about the celebration. Our group chose, Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.


Día de los Muertos, is a spanish holiday celebrated all over the world. Originating in Mexico, the origin of the festival can be  traced back over 2500 years ago.  During the Aztec times, this festival which was dedicated to goddess Michtecacihuatl, would last up to a month long. Today, the mexican culture shortened the span of the festival to only three days.  Each day has a different significance for who it dedicates. On October 31st, Día de los Angelitos, deceased children are honored for their time on earth. The following day, Día de los Muertos, is used to honor the adults that have passed. Family members may sweep around the deceased’s grave site. The last day, All souls day, is celebrated by visiting the cemetery and decorating the relatives tombs with favorite foods and flowers.

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Classy Classes

Writing up scholarships can be a drag. Putting your entire academic life into a small stack of papers. Looking upon my transcripts I am in awe of the amount of classes I have taken so far. I decided to list all of the classes I have taken since High School and the classes I have taken in College. I will then analyze how much I have learned in my upper academic endeavors.

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Becoming the Knight


School is a fascinating idea. A place where children can learn about an abundance of knowledge on subjects as far as the eye can see. You see, I absolutely love school. The books, the pens, the hand-raising, the power of knowing a subject. As a small child, I had dreaded school. Starting in the first grade, I would get anxious and scared of going to class. Making myself physically ill was the only way to avoid the teachers and the students. I couldn’t handle my teacher, who was above all nasty, so I transferred classes. My new teacher was caring, and she helped me with my anxiety problems. She even let my mother volunteer in the classroom a couple of times a month. School got better, and I had fun learning. I even ventured on the “Star of India” where I stayed the night on an old ship in the San Diego Harbor. 

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates


In middle school, in the middle of eighth grade, anxiety hit again. I couldn’t handle the thought of walking into the classroom. I became detached, and slowly isolated myself. I got transferred to “New Directions” – a school environment where most studies took place at home or in small class settings. I was getting by in school, but I hated it. Most students were there for disciplinary reasons; And I was not. 

In ninth grade, I started school with “Dehesa”- a charter school. I participated in science classes, art classes, and field trips. I studied whales while boating in the San Diego Bay. I won an essay contest and got a behind-the-scenes look at SeaWorld. I was given the chance to explore subjects that interested me; cooking, and learning the hebrew language from my Rabbi. I was given the freedom to work on more films in Los Angeles with my flexible schedule. I taught elementary school kids at the local Chabad House. I was able to express my thirst for knowledge in a setting which I had never before experienced. 

Moving to Oregon my sophomore year, I had decided to start my studies at a high school in town. I fell in love the minute I walked in the doors of this amazing high school. It made me feel like family, and I adjusted quickly to my new environment. Spending most of my time in the culinary arts room, I thrived in my growing knowledge of food. I quickly became very involved with the culinary arts, and the theater department in school. I tackled obstacles and attended classes at the local community college to head-start my culinary career. I ended my high-school career with a whopping 3.98 GPA. Days after my high school graduation I was already in my culinary classes.

I could dedicate multiple posts just to my experiences at Cascade Culinary Institute. I grew into a confident young woman, who could take over the world. Competing in competitions and becoming a member of the food community, I knew I had made the right choice in learning about the food we eat everyday. I graduated with honors and within weeks I was working at Walt Disney World in their culinary department.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. – W.B Yeats


During my time at Disney I realized I wanted more. I loved getting my hands dirty in the kitchen, but I also loved the smell of a freshly printed cookbook. My desk was a mountain of a variety of food magazines. I was hooked on food literature; so much that I have so far accumulated over 100 cookbooks ranging from Julia Child, to a 50 shades of Chicken parody. 

I decided to start school again after my one year residency of the state was up. Out of state tuition is through the roof, and after waiting a few months, I attended a local community college to earn general education credits. After earning some of the necessary credits to transfer I applied to my university of choice. 

Yesterday I received my acceptance letter.

If you would have asked me five or six  years ago if I was ever going to attend a university, I would have said, “No.” How would I be able to handle the stress of a high-stake university if I could barely handle the stress of middle school. Looking back, I am extremely proud of my accomplishments thus far. The little girl who was once a damsel in distress, is now a brave golden Knight.