The quintessential student internship usually involves a combination of filing, reorganizing, stapling, and drinking coffee. However, for Carter ’10, her typical summer day included mixing, chopping, baking and tasting in the kitchen of Lucques, Suzanne Goin’s ’84 first restaurant.
“I worked in the pastry kitchen. It’s been absolutely amazing,” Carter said.
Carter came in each morning, put her apron on, and waited for her first assignment.
“They’ve been incredibly generous in what they allow me to do. They trust that I won’t screw up,” Carter said.
Manager of Lucques Matt Duggan said he immediately saw Carter’s potential.
“We always have people audition to prove themselves, so we brought Carter in for a day. Although she didn’t have as much experience as older applicants, she had a terrific attitude and a great work ethic. That goes a long way in a kitchen,” Duggan said.
Carter was unsure of what to expect during her audition, she said.
“I was beyond nervous. I had to be ready for anything. I got there in the middle of lunch service and was scared to death. I read through Suzanne’s cookbook and the summer dessert menu, but that didn’t give me enough reassurance… I just knew that I had to be organized, clean and willing to do anything,” Carter said.
Carter dealt with many challenges in the kitchen.
“It has been a real test of my ability to handle myself in chaotic situations. I often worked during lunch service so the kitchen was fully up and running to put out food. Logistically, it was difficult to work in a tall kitchen; I was always on my tip-toes anytime I was working with giant pots,” Carter said.
Goin graduated from Brown University and has since opened three restaurants in the Los Angeles area. Winner of the 2006 Beard Award for Best Chef in California, and awarded three stars for Lucques by the Los Angeles Times, Goin continues to manage her restaurants while caring for three children, all under the age of three. With no professional chef schooling under her belt, Goin proves that passion is the only key ingredient needed for success.
“It’s comforting and inspiring that she had no professional training and is so successful… it’s amazing,” Carter said.
Carter was nervous meeting Goin.
“In my head, she’s a celebrity,” Carter said, but “she’s so humble and down to earth.”
Carter will continue to work at Lucques on Sunday mornings during the school year.
“It’s such a privilege. I have to pinch myself because it’s so surreal,” Carter said. “It takes its toll emotionally…to this day, I get a little nervous when I walk into the kitchen. But I love the energy and commotion.”