Holistic Chef Graduate Nikki Martinez’s Showcase Meal and Open Letter to Bauman College

Holistic Chef graduate Nicole (Nikki) Martinez, a full-time professional health coach, and mother, recently completed the year-long Holistic Chef Online Culinary Program to become a certified Holistic Chef in this accredited program.

Check out Nikki’s showcase meal along with excerpts from an open letter she wrote about her culinary educational journey below.

The Showcase Meal

In the second half of the program, students are tasked to complete a showcase meal based on all they learned in the program. Showing off their skills of seasonal menu planning using the techniques they learned over the first part of the course.

Nikki's Showcase Meal
Nikki’s Showcase Meal

The meal must consist of a starter, a main course with sides, and a dessert. Everything must be plated individually, in the style of a restaurant, and served on a planned table setting. The student must do all of this themselves without help, a true test of their abilities.

Mise en place for the Showcase Meal
Mise en place for the Showcase Meal

Chef Nikki originally planned a New Year’s Eve celebration but had to pivot to a Cozy Family Meal-themed menu, after her family found out they had to move. All of the preplanning for the original menu had to get scrapped.

However, she took what she learned applied it to the new menu in her new kitchen.

Chef Nikki says the things that helped her have a successful event were her mise en place and envisioning the steps before she even got in the kitchen, which made it flow. Also setting the table before she even began to cook, allowed her to not worry and just have fun!

An Open Letter To Bauman College

By Nicole (Nikki) Martinez

Nikki Martinez (right) with her family
Nikki Martinez (right) with her family

I’ve been on my health/wellness/cooking journey for many years now. It’s kind of nice to take this time to acknowledge, reflect & appreciate what the experience has truly been. My interest in cooking started to kick in when my youngest son was born. He’s now 11 years old.

We lived in a small rural town & there wasn’ t much to do besides hanging around friends & family “shooting the breeze” and/or watching the kids play outside. Not a bad thing, I should say but oftentimes left me feeling like I was meant to “do more” in some way.

I’d watch the movie “Julie & Julia” quite often & had my “heart eyes” popped out, in awe of what it must be like to whip up yummy things in the kitchen so easily, ’cause that definitely wasn’t me back then.

I had a Desire for Cooking

I had a desire for cooking but I just hadn’t tapped into it yet. For a long time I had inner dialogue that would say “other people go to culinary school, it’s out of reach for you” …..(I’m of course proud I broke free from that sort of thinking eventually.)

But let me tell you a little bit more about this time of my journey.

I came across BAUMAN COLLEGE & I immediately took notice to the fact that Bauman College had now started to offer VIRTUAL ONLINE options for their Holistic Chef Program. This blew my mind. I remembered learning about Bauman years beforehand but it was on the list of “cool places but out of reach for me” due to the distance from home for us. But online? Wow, could I really actually attend this school that I had only wished about before? YES! & before I knew it, I was back on track to getting my Culinary Diploma. This time it would be HOLISTIC focused, which felt more than perfectly aligned. I was smitten again, that’s for sure!

My Confidence with Cooking has Risen Dramatically

Nikki Martinez with a plated dish
Nikki Martinez with a plated dish

I just graduated from Bauman College (graduation day is 3/30/2022) & I’m just so blown away by how my education has up-leveled since attending here. My confidence with cooking has risen dramatically. The layout of the program, the deep-rooted education we’ve been taught has been much more than I ever could have dreamed of. We’ve gotten a MODERN CHEF’s dream education to be honest.

Conventional, traditional culinary programs just don’t cut it anymore. I hope it’s ok to say that. But they just don’t. When I was in my previous school, as much as I loved getting to attend class onsite & learn one on one with the instructors, there were definitely some setbacks in learning to cook healthy meals.

Because of my education, today I’m really able to clearly see the type of ingredients used in the traditional training schools. From cooking oils, flours, quality of meats, veggies etc. So inflammatory for the body & not what our modern day needs are, that’s for sure. Especially when the mass majority is finding themselves dealing with so many inflammatory type diseases in various forms. And of course, I mean no harm to anyone with this perspective. I’m simply being positively real.

I’m Finally Dancing in My Kitchen Everyday

Bauman has taught me how to source properly, how to cook using ingredients that are better for the body & support healing all while making food taste SO DANG GOOD!!!

This is something I feel like I’ve absolutely up-leveled in. Confidence with the way my foods taste. Confidence in the fact that any meal I make for someone has been made with high quality & nourishing ingredients. I’m FINALLY dancing in my kitchen everyday & making foods I feel proud of & continuously healing my own body while at it.

Nikki Martinez Dancing in Her Kitchen
Nikki Martinez Dancing in Her Kitchen

I love that Bauman College not only covers all the crucial foundations of cooking, but the ins & outs of up-leveled approaches, holistic baking & even entrepreneurship. Which is actually the route I plan to continue on for my professional journey. I’m currently working on figuring out what directions I’ll actually go with my Holistic Chef education, but I’ll openly share that, I’d eventually love to open a Wellness Center & bring in other Health Coaches/Holistic Chefs together to run classes/workshops/retreats etc.

I’m Starting a Local ‘Cooking Club’

I know it may take quite a while to reach that stage, so I’ll gladly be working on the small steps along the way & using this beautiful gift to support others with my current Health Coach work currently & within my own home & community. I’m starting a local “Cooking Club” this season to connect with other women & honestly just create moments that are FEEL GOOD right now.

I’m also in the midst of putting together some great Online Cooking Courses/Virtual Classes/Live Events etc. On top of that, I recently had a conversation with someone about potentially starting a new Podcast, which looks like will be happening later this year. So crazy to think about but ya, it’s amazing what shows up, when the time is right. LOL. I have a book project in mind as well. But I mean, let’s take this ONE DAY at a time 😉 It’s all so exciting, tbh.

I now Feel like an Expert in My Field

While I know I’ll be a lifelong learner, I now feel like an expert in my field. I am simply feeling confident with my skills & knowledge thanks to my time here at Bauman College. I know that having a journey that involved a sort of stepping stool approach with my education has allowed me to “build on things” & really soak everything in.

Nikki Martinez cutting vegetables
Nikki Martinez cutting vegetables

But I truly feel that if it wasn’t for having this opportunity to learn such in-depth holistic approaches with cooking, my career might not be unfolding as cool as it is. It’s a healthy & tasty time of life & I’m ready to venture out for the endless opportunities I will forever stay open to and the purpose I feel for supporting others with restoring their health & lives through cooking.

Bauman College will Forever be a Part of My Life

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this beautiful opportunity & all the Bauman College staff’s grace & willingness to help us out whenever we need. Bauman College will forever be a part of me & I’m so grateful & honored to say I’m a Bauman College graduate!

-Holistic Chef Nikki

Read the full open letter or connect with Nikki Martinez via her website shefnikki.com, or on Instagram @thewellnessroute

Have Work You Love

Get the details on how to pursue a career as a Holistic Chef through Bauman College’s 12-month ONLINE culinary school! Contact us to connect with an Admissions Representative today.