Hi everyone, my name is Anne Elise Garrison and I was the Culinary Director at the Very Vera Cooking Camp this past summer. I am currently completing a BFA in Dance Performance and a Minor in Nutrition at Chapman University in Southern California. I’ve always been attracted to working in the arts, but my interests in nutritional health and education has only recently emerged during my time at Chapman.
I have been a part of the Very Vera Cooking Camp since I was 8, and returned to be a counselor when I turned 18. I spent time in the entrepreneurship room, leading arts and crafts and packaging skills, but something about the kitchen always drew me in. I now know, after 3 years of collegiate Nutrition courses, that it was because cooking is an art of its own.
The mixture of flavors to create the perfect balance and the give and take of certain recipes intrigued me and had me wanting more. After working my first summer in the kitchen as a Kitchen Lead, I returned back to California with the desire to further my nutritional education and dove into the Nutrition Minor. Between my intense dance schedule, I took Food Science and learned the science behind baking cookies, Chemistry for Nutritionists and the molecular processes behind digestion, and even Nutrition and the World Food Crisis which brought me a greater awareness of the communities in and outside of our country that are dealing with food shortages. This spark of wonder from working a single summer in the kitchen has set me up to explore the scholarly avenues of Nutrition and Holistic Health.
This summer I walked into the Culinary Director position confident of my knowledge and skills within the nutritional fields but I was taught so much more than that. I learned to become a leader and find my voice among both campers and colleagues. Growing up I was always more comfortable expressing myself through movement, but this summer really pushed me to become outspoken and clear in my words and for that I’m grateful. I am more confident presenting my artistic ideas and choreographic style both of which are crucial in the milestones of the Dance Performance BFA. I look back at shy, 8 yr. old Anne Elise, attending Very Vera Cooking Camp for the first time and I am proud of who she has become all because of this Camp.
While some might say that Nutrition is a back up plan for my Artistic Dance career, I have to disagree, as I don’t see them as separate entities, rather just an extension of my desire to learn.