Teaching students the ins and outs of culinary arts


Carmen Ruiz

Toasting granules of rice Kimberly Bakke stays busy in the kitchen. Chef Bakke joined this school in the year 2021 and has been working hard ever since. “Even if you told me you’re going to work a lot at your new job as a teacher I wouldn’t change what I do, and I think all that I did back then made me who I am today.”

Carmen Ruiz, Staff Writer

A career switch from being an executive pastry chef working on the Las Vegas Strip to a magnet high school instructor would seem drastic for most, but Chef Kimberely Bakke states that she has never been more fulfilled.

“I have wanted to be a chef since I was eight,” Bakke said. “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to do anything else. This has always been my calling. Ever since I was two or three years old, my mom would have me up on the counter dumping flour into the mixing bowl.”

One of the most important skills that Bakke learned during culinary school was professionalism.

“I did a lot of good growing up in those years because in high school I wasn’t the best student,” Bakke said. “When I got to culinary school I kind of realized this was serious. This is money, I’m lucky to be here, and I should take advantage of that. When I was at the Culinary Art Institute of Las Vegas, I had perfect attendance on an honor roll with a GPA of 3.8.”

Inspired by a teacher at her culinary institute, she would eventually lead her to pursue a career in baking and pastry.

“I had this teacher, he was an old French guy named Mr. Duvall, and he used to tell us ‘Your goals do not wait,’” Bakke said. “He would yell that at us and say ‘What you’re doing right now is as important as what you’re going to be doing later.’ I think what he was trying to say was that education is the foundation for what you will be doing in the future, and don’t wait to be your best self. I wish the school didn’t close down or else I would contact him and tell him all about how I’m implementing his teachings at this school.”

The Strip being shut down during the pandemic was especially hard on Bakke due to her position as a pastry chef in the fine dining industry.

“One day I was at work, and then I was off for a year,” Bakke said. “Even though there was no transition period to it other than just being unemployed. My job title was the same, but my role in the kitchen was completely different. I went from being the one making all the components of the dessert to just plating.”

This drastic change in her role as a pastry chef inspired her to start looking for fulfillment elsewhere in a new career.

“I was really just plating desserts for rich people,” Bakke said. “I came home from work every day and I was like ‘What did I accomplish?’ I wasn’t getting anything out of it. And that’s what made me realize I needed a career shift.”

Chef Hadobas, who was previously her superior, recommended Bakke for her current position as an instructor for the culinary program.

“Back in the day my first ever real fine dining job in the industry was on the Las Vegas strip,” Bakke said. “Chef Hadobas was my head chef, and he taught me a lot. That is actually where I started pastry. I didn’t know anything before I came there. I didn’t really know what that company saw in me because I didn’t have a lot of experience with pastry.”

In high school, she participated in a food elective inside a classroom with only a few kitchenettes and details how she wished she had the resources we have at our school today.

“Even as high schoolers you guys are in an amazing program,” Bakke said. “You’ve got some amazing instructors in all of your different classes. Your goals are not going away. You got to do the best you can right now. Take what you have been given and take advantage of it to learn every single thing you can.”