BV’s Patzke will follow his dream
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Initially considering dentistry as a calling, Buckeye Valley senior Rob Patzke has decided to take a different career path.
He first considered changing his career goal after shadowing a surgeon, resulting in an interest on oral surgery, which led Rob to go so far as to be awake during his own wisdom tooth extraction.
But it was while he was in the midst of filling out his applications to Ohio State University that a thick packet arrived from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — the dream college his mother once told him to go for.
“I freaked out,” he said, as all thoughts of dentistry and oral surgery went out the window.
He has since visited the CIA, located along the Hudson River in Hyde Park N.Y., twice.
“It’s real now. It’s nothing like I imagined,” he said. “I thought it would be less formal.”
The school is extremely formal — a professor can send you back to your room for not being in proper attire and shorts or cargo pants are not allowed on campus.
“It’s different than most culinary schools,” Rob said, adding that accomplished chefs Duff Goldman and Cameron Mitchell attended the school. “So it’s amazing.”
Rob said his cooking aspirations began when he was 2-years-old making cookies with his mom. She got a phone call, and he got impatient so he mixed up all the ingredients that were on the counter, rolled the dough into balls and placed them on the cookie sheet before she came back from the call.
“I was a sous chef at a young age,” he laughed.
While it can be a risky field, Rob thought that cooking would be a hobby. But once you attain junior status at the CIA, you already have three to four jobs set, he said. And alumni can always return for help with another placement if they lose their jobs.
You’ve heard of the freshman 13, he said. At the CIA, “it is the freshman 30,” referring to the extra pounds freshman are said to gain their first year at school.
Rob thought a moment when asked what his signature dish is.
“I do love cupcakes,” he said, adding it was originally fondant cakes. “I like tweaking recipes.”
He said he has been around Asian food a lot, and now would like to learn more about European food — French, Italian, “more iconic food,” he said. He has recently tried Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon, which requires each piece of beef to be dried individually.
“It is so time consuming,” he said.
In addition to handling a full course load at Buckeye Valley, Rob has been working 20 to 30 hours a week at Molly Woo’s since December doing a lot of prep work and some sauces to fulfill the six-month internship requirement for the CIA.
He also had the lead in the school musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Rob has been involved with the drama department since the eighth grade.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said of his first lead just months before graduating. “It’s my first actual lead. I’ve had other major roles. It’s a nice way to end.”
Besides being in show choir, he is also active in student council, Teen Institute and president of National Honor Society.
“Students like Rob are a big reason why I love teaching,” said Rachel Dye, BV social studies teacher. “He’s optimistic, hard-working, friendly and has a wonderful sense of humor. He is a fantastic people person, which will serve him well going into the culinary industry. Over the two years that I’ve known Rob, he created a unique and humorous method of greeting me almost everyday which I truly look forward to. I have confidence that Rob will flourish in whatever field he chooses to pursue after leaving Buckeye Valley, but he will be missed dearly not only by me, but by the entire Buckeye Valley community.”
Deana Hooper, Rob’s English teacher, said “Rob is a conscientious student. He is inquisitive and committed to success. Despite his busy extra-curricular schedule and course load, Rob always makes time to be helpful to anyone in need. He is passionate about his theater endeavors and excited about his future as a chef. He shares his talents with enthusiasm.”
Rob has worked in the high school offices for several years as an aide.
“We love having him return every year because he is extremely comfortable with people. Rob is a very grounded young man, he has a sense of purpose and service for his life,” said Marjorie Harrel, high school principal’s secretary. “In his position as NHS president, he leads with a positive and caring energy which I admire in a young person. During the play this past weekend, Rob had the lead as Charlie Brown and was just fantastic. Rob is a born actor, singer, chef, motivated student and humble individual … I truly enjoy talking with him to see what his next project is, he is always in perpetual motion.”
High school principal Susan Gooch said, “Simply stated, Rob is a tremendous young man. He is conscientious, compassionate, thoughtful, talented, smart, and funny. As trite as it might sound, he is just a very nice person. That quality alone — even if he didn’t have so many other admirable traits — will pay infinite dividends for him in life. I think the world of Rob. He’s been a wonderful presence at Buckeye Valley.”
“Rob Patzke is an amazing leader. He is driven to accomplish anything. Rob takes challenges and overcomes them like a professional. It has truly been a pleasure to have Rob as a student,” added Matt Miller, BV choir director.
“Rob has worked as on office worker for me three of his four years,” said DeeDee James, attendance secretary at the high school. He has always been willing to jump in and help wherever he can. He has been trustworthy and a hard worker and able to balance his very busy life. He has been a pleasure to have in the office and a blessing to me. I’m so glad he chose to spend some time in the office each day and to have gotten to know him better. He has shared his signature, delicious cupcakes with us, too! I know Rob will follow his dreams and become a fantastic chef someday and I can say ‘I knew him when…’”
Rob is also very active in his Korean church in Mansfield, which includes being president of the youth group and performances in extravagant church theatrical productions. He has been attending the church since he was young as his adoptive parents wanted him to have ties to his native country’s culture, he said.
He began his relationship with God while memorizing Scripture in youth group. Now, he ties Scripture to life situations, strengthening his faith.
Time management is the key to Rob handling all his commitments. He has show choir concerts still ahead this year, and the mock crash simulation, prom, academic awards and graduation.
He offers the following advice to others.
“Live it up. It will be over before you know it,” he said. When you are in 8th grade, you think you have five years, he added, but it goes by a lot quicker than you think.
Rob is the son of Jeffery and Elizabeth Patzke of Ashley.