Nicole Cooper '91
Where did you go to school after you graduated Mercy? What did you study?
After high school, I attended Murray State University and received a theatre arts major and a dance minor.
What made you move to NYC?
I moved to New York City because New York is the home of musical theatre. The opportunities were and still are endless.
How did you end up in your career?
I ended up in the culinary field after performing musical theatre on European tours and with Disney Cruise Line for over 10 years! I began a food blog series, and through that was approached by Food Network to provide a summer series recipe. I studied and worked at the James Beard Foundation for four years, working alongside Giada De Laurentiis, Marcus Samuelsson and Michael Chiarello, some of the best in the culinary industry. From there, I began a food series called, A Taste of Nicole. Recently, I entered a food challenge for PBS's Create TV (fingers crossed). My average day in NYC now consists of being a private chef for a lovely family.
What do you love most about your job?
What I love about my job is creating new dishes with flavors in an organic way. I am a kid in a candy store when I shop for the groceries, especially when I'm at the butcher's. This career allows me to create on a level that challenges me and allows me to play, all at the same time. I find that working in a kitchen is such an extension of my performing career; it's all so creative.
How did Mercy prepare you for your career?
Mercy prepared me by setting examples of diligence, through academics and sports, persistence and critical thinking, which are all required to succeed. I always said Mercy Academy's creed was an extension of how I was raised. So when I was at school, it was like home.
What advice would you give Mercy girls?
My advice to Mercy girls is this...believe in yourself, listen to your own voice, be persistent, ask questions, be BOLD, and surround yourself with like-minded people who lift you up. Make vision boards, check out what works and what doesn't. Finally, do what moves you and fills your soul. Not only will you find your happiness, but you will also be a contribution to the world.