Elyssa Kaplan has been experimenting with recipes since before she could reach her kitchen countertop.
After graduating next week and spending a summer in D.C., the international affairs major will head to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to hone her culinary skills, joining the ranks of graduates like Julia Child, Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis.
“I learned how to scramble eggs when I was 3 [years old],” Kaplan said. She has been interested in culinary arts since she was a child, and her grandfather, a former chef, taught her the basics early on.
Since then, Kaplan has been cooking up her specialties and handing out leftovers to friends and family.
She started planning her study at Le Cordon Bleu her freshman year, hoping to pursue her dream of attending culinary school while she still young. Just 36 hours after submitting the application, Kaplan was accepted to the program.
“I want to start at the very basics, like knife skills, so that I can do it all perfectly,” Kaplan, who has not had any prior professional culinary training, said.
Her roommate, Sara Emamian, said she will miss Kaplan’s quiches. Filled with Gruyère, spinach and bacon, they’re “better than any restaurant could make.”
In D.C. this summer, Kaplan will make up for lost time that could have been spent on culinary adventures during her years at GW. She said one of her favorite food experiences in the District was at Floriana in Dupont. She said she is looking forward to learning to cook French cuisine because it is challenging.
After completing her program at Le Cordon Bleu, she hopes to attend law school, continuing to perfect her culinary abilities as a hobby. Both professors at the University of Georgia, her parents recognized the value of earning a well-rounded education and pursing passions, she said. Before coming to GW, Kaplan spent six months in Jerusalem during a gap year, studying the Middle East.
“My mom loves laundry and hates cooking, and I’m the opposite, so we specialize,” Kaplan said jokingly.
Kaplan will graduate from the University Honors Program, where she serves as events chair and leadership member of the program’s student peer advisors group, a program in its first year for which she coordinated events. She is also a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.