Inspiring Young Minds, One Recipe at a Time with Michelle Razzano

by | Nov 26, 2018 | Closeup

 Nothing comes close in this world than inspiring young minds going out and becoming great. This experience is even better when these minds create masterpieces on a plate. Because, for most people, good food doesn’t just satisfy hunger, but caresses your soul in a warm embrace that leaves lasting memories. This is the case for Chef and instructor Michelle Razzano. Michelle is one of the instructors for the iCUE at College of the Canyons in Valencia. Every Semester she works with students sharing with them her own experiences along with the technical side, to hone their craft as a professional chef.
Originally from Warren, Ohio; Chef Michelle attended Culinary School in Los Angeles called LA Trade Technical College working many odd jobs in the restaurant industry to put herself through school. “Working my way through college, that’s all I knew, the restaurant industry,” she recalled. Michelle attributes her culinary skill to a mixture of the technical side she learned while in school, and the experiences from working the odd jobs, but the majority from her grandmother. “I learned to cook from my grandmother, she’s from the south and she was an excellent cook. I would spend weekends at her house learning to cook, she was always canning or working in the garden and that rubbed off on me and this is where my love for cooking started,” she continued.
After graduation, Michelle started her own business called LA Trends Catering, she ran that business from 1992 until 2011. “We did all types and kinds of food and worked all types of events; private and corporate. We did a lot of social functions and things around town…” For her, the most challenging part was learning her way through business, “Just because I can cook doesn’t mean I can run a business, so I had to really work hard to find out how to become a great business women, and how to stay alive during the hard times [down turn of the economy in 2008-2010].” In 2009, she started teaching at College of the Canyons. Since then she has found she really enjoys teaching, making sure her students are able to meet and exceed the standards of this difficult, growing industry. “ I enjoy giving back to my students, I enjoy motivating and inspiring them.”
To further her skills Chef Michelle enjoys going out and trying new foods and restaurants; learning different flavors and techniques from other chefs. ”That’s how we grow in our own professional development, by getting out and trying other things.” One chef she truly enjoys is Chef Jose Andres who works out of Beverly Hills at the Bazaar. “ He studied with renowned chef Ferdinand Adriá in Spain and made his way to the U.S. and I really look up to him because he cares about people, and he cares about feeding people….if there’s ever a disaster he is right there,” she added recalling the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the recent fires in California.
Chef Michelle enjoys making homemade, fresh pasta. “There’s nothing like fresh, home-made pasta and sauces, but I have moved over to light clean healthy eating, and I’m really enjoying that.” She also enjoys creating vegan recipes.” Since a lot of people are choosing meat free options and I love coming up with and creating new dishes for that diet.” She encourages shopping at a local farmer’s market, “COC has an excellent one, we need to know where our food comes from and try to reduce the carbon footprint as small as possible. I try to buy local and organic.”