Executive Director of
The Concerto Project
Laura Jung is a Class of 2008 Stanbridge graduate. After attending Foothill College for two years, Laura moved to the Pacific Northwest and began pursuing her passion for cooking. She worked preparing meals for up to 700 people at the local YMCA and began studying at the Seattle Culinary Arts School. Laura also joined the advisory board of The Concerto Project, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a living and learning residential transition program that serves the greater Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.
Below is an interview with Laura from 2015. In it, Laura discusses her post-Stanbridge journey, details her current work experience, and shares her recipe for success (...as well as one for making a delicious chicken dish).
Stanbridge alumna Laura Jung is fortunate to be among those lucky few who can make a profession out of their passion. “What I like about working in a kitchen is seeing the people enjoy the food that I prepare,” said Laura. “For me there is nothing better.”
Although she is currently enrolled at the Seattle Culinary Academy, Laura is keen to acknowledge that her path to making a career out of her calling was less than direct. After graduating from Stanbridge in 2008, Laura attended Foothill Community College in Los Altos. “I took a math class, a biology class, and a Japanese beginning language class,” said Laura. “I didn’t pursue a degree at that point, because I was just thinking about general studies, nothing more.”
In December 2010, she moved up to Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands off the northwestern corner of Washington State, and began her first foray into the food and beverage industry. “I started working for the YMCA at a camp call Camp Orkila in the kitchen,” said Laura. “I also volunteered at the senior center two times a week helping prepare the seniors’ lunch.”
After she graduates with her AAS in culinary arts, Laura has been asked to be the kitchen manager and cooking teacher for The Concerto Project, a residential transition program for young adults on the autism spectrum. “When I began to develop the idea of The Concerto Project, I asked Laura if she would like to be involved by helping me to design a commercial kitchen that could be utilized as a training environment for young adults with autism,” said Executive Director Marian O’Brien. “Laura's sketches of the commercial kitchen that she did for the launch of the program were detailed and included all the equipment that would be needed.”
After completing the sketches, Laura collected estimates for the costs of the equipment and materials. She then began creating a series of three cookbooks with recipes for the community lunches Marian envisions for The Concerto Project.
“Laura has so many of the traits that I seek in our staff at Concerto: detail-oriented, skillful, thoughtful, kind, open-minded, big-hearted and a great sense of humor,” said Marian. “I am really looking forward to her future involvement in The Concerto Project's program!”
Laura says she was drawn to the project not only because of her love for food but because she feels an affinity towards Concerto’s future residents as well. “I know what it is like to be in their shoes, and it can be a tough place to be,” said Laura. “I want to help provide at least a little bit of that much needed support.”
Although life after Stanbridge is no piece of cake, she says believing in yourself can be instrumental in achieving success. “Don’t let the struggles and stresses break you,” Laura advises current Stanbridge students. “Be confident in yourself and what you can do.”
Hunting for a dinner inspiration? Click here for Laura’s recipe to make Chicken Chasseur. “Hope you enjoy this as much as I did upon making it,” said Laura.