Putting down the pen and picking up the ladle

Senior pursues nontraditional postsecondary path of culinary school


Brendan Scheib-Feeley '18

Augie Droegemuller ’18 is cooking up a storm in the kitchen

While most seniors are currently stressing about finding a roommate and finalizing their housing applications, Augie Droegemuller ‘18 is sitting tight. He knows that he will be going to college but is in no rush to choose between his two options, Kendall College in Chicago or The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Droegemuller decided that after taking a gap year, he will spend four years at culinary school, something uncommon at a high school where Ivy League schools are where students dream to attend.

Pursuing a culinary degree can be risky for aspiring chefs as restaurants do not always pay sustainable salaries to first time cooks. Regardless of if they have a degree from culinary school or not, young chefs struggle to make living despite their adoration for cooking food.  

While his passion is cuisine, Droegemuller is not going to be focused solely on the art of cooking during his four years at culinary school.  

“I hope to not only learn how to cook [professionally, but] I want to learn the business of the food industry so I can evaluate the positions that are in the field and see which one will suit my interests,” he said.

Droegemuller’s aspirations within culinary school embody his aspirations as a professional chef as well as his personal life.

“I’d like to get to a higher level where I could pick people to work for me and then have that run smoothly so that I could spend more time pursuing things that I want to do,” he said. “I’ve always loved music, theater; maybe [I will] take improv classes, who knows.”

Droegemuller’s experience in the field already gives him a leg up on his future classmates. For the past three years, he has been cooking at Handcut Foods and the Saddle and Cycle Country Club, working as both a prep cook and line cook.

For Droegemuller, cooking is not only a personal interest but a way in which he connects with his family and friends.

“I’ve always loved cooking since I was a little kid, [like] helping out with Thanksgiving dinners with my grandma and my mom,” said Droegemuller.

Henry Hinard ‘18, a close friend of Droegemuller, said, “He’s the kind of guy that could be successful in [the culinary field]. Even though it’s a really difficult field, he has the talent and the drive to be successful.”

Not only did Droegemuller’s family help ignite his passion for cooking, but they also support him in pursuing it as a full-time career.

“Nothing is more exciting than watching him take a huge step towards [his] dream,” said Droegemuller’s mother Christine Carr.  

Droegemuller’s passion for cooking also allows him to honor his family. He says that his favorite dish to prepare is his grandfather’s famous Italian Meatballs.

“My grandpa’s not gonna be around for too much longer, so I feel like if I can perfect his meatballs, he will live through me forever,” said Droegemuller.