Mark Davis, the new chef director at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of California, has been a culinary professional for more than 35 years. He is also an educator and an internationally renowned ice sculptor.
What excites you about your new appointment? I’ll have the ability to see some of my dreams for culinary education come true. I like to try and inspire faculty and students to go beyond their own expectations.
What made you choose a culinary career? I originally went into computer programming, but I noticed the most exciting part of my day was when I came home to the kitchen. I eventually got a culinary apprenticeship and degrees. It’s the same transition that the students in my school are trying to make.
Did you grow up with food as an important part of home life? When I was 9, I was the doughnut maker on my street in Walnut Creek. One afternoon while mom was taking a nap, my sister and I got out the Betty Crocker cookbook and looked up doughnuts. We set up a big fry pot, poured in a bunch of grease and got a thermometer. The smell of the hot oil woke my mom up, but by that time, we’d already made 50 doughnuts and from then on, I had mom’s license to cook whatever I wanted.