Erick Fernandez was an international student in the undergraduate business program at Montclair State when University Facilities hired him as a Student Assistant. Little did they know that they were getting more than just a great employee; they were about to be introduced to one amazing desert. Erick Fernandez’s specialty in the kitchen is Central American Tres Leches cake, or “three milks” cake, a sponge case soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. The desert is immensely popular in his native Costa Rica. And Erick does not hesitate to bring his homemade Tres Leches cake to work for his co-workers to try. Perhaps the Tres Leches influenced the Department just a little bit when it decided to hire him as a full time Junior Budget Analyst when he graduated with a business degree in 2012.
Erick Fernandez never planned to study or live in the U.S. In 2003 he was invited by American friends to spend a summer vacation in the U.S. When he arrived, speaking no English, the friends convinced him to go to school for English. With English under his belt, they convinced him to stay and study for an Associate’s degree, and then to transfer to Montclair State for a Bachelor’s degree. Erick is the first in his family, which includes 50 cousins, to graduate from college, and the first to learn English. By the time he had earned his degree, he had learned to love his life in the U.S. In particular, he loved the broad mix of peoples, cultures, and, of course, foods, that make up the U.S.
Erick’s friends know that his culinary talents do not end with dessert. As the son of a Caterer, Erick learned to cook as a child by helping his mother with her business. Whether it’s his black beans, Arroz con Pollo, or Costa Rican cold slaw, friends are in for a treat when they are invited to Erick’s home for dinner. Erick hopes to one day earn his MBA, and then combine his love for cooking with his business background by opening a restaurant. During his last visit to Costa Rica took a tiny step toward that dream when he successfully sold his signature Tres Leches to his mother’s colleagues.