Glynis Karnop has been baking and decorating cakes since she was 7 years old. And though she hasn’t been doing it professionally, she’s always dabbled in it throughout her life, whipping up sweet treats for her friends and family.
For the past 18 years, Glynis has worked as a medical laboratory technician, and currently works full-time at Alaska Regional Hospital. She thought many times about going to culinary school, but the right opportunity never presented itself, until she arrived in Anchorage.
Glynis and her husband came to Alaska with the Army in 2008. Ten months later, Glynis’s husband was deployed. To keep herself busy while he was away, Glynis decided that it was time to chase her dream of becoming a culinarian, and enrolled in UAA’s Culinary Arts program.
A self-described “foodie” from the get-go, Glynis said, “I’ve always loved cooking, even when it gets stressful in the kitchen. It’s a different kind of stress.”
Glynis said that everyone she encountered in UAA’s Culinary Arts program was very approachable. “There are days when you just burn everything under the sun,” she said, “but the instructors have an open-door policy and are very receptive to new things you want to explore in the kitchen.”
On top of her full-time job at the hospital, Glynis also serves as a lab aid to assistant professor Chef Naomi Everett. She helps current culinary students plan menus, develop kitchen skills and help prep for lunch service at Lucy’s, an on-campus restaurant run by UAA culinary arts students.
In December 2010, Glynis entered three dessert recipes into the Cacao Barry Chocolate Competition and was one of only six students from across the nation selected to participate in the Cacao Barry L’art du Chocolatier Challenge 2010, held Jan. 11-12, 2011 in Chicago. Glynis placed third in the student competition, winning $500 plus $500 in Cacao Barry products.
“There’s a real sense of accomplishment when you have an idea in your head and you can realize it on a plate,” Glynis said.
Glynis earned her Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in December 2010. “To be able to put that piece of paper [diploma] on the wall, and have that accreditation behind you is really important.”
Glynis’s husband will soon retire from the military, and the couple will move to Kentucky to be closer to family. Glynis hopes to one day open her own bakery or catering business. “Now it’s a matter of putting my nose to the grindstone,” she said.