It’s a Small (Culinary) World

by Lindsay Perry, September 5, 2019

In a fortunate string of events, I’ve had the opportunity to make extremely valuable connections with a variety of culinary professionals this semester. Some inside and some outside of the Kendall College Alumni network, these connections have undeniably contributed to my personal growth, knowledge, and will help propel my future career.

It kicked off with Kendall College giving me the opportunity to volunteer at the James Beard Awards Gala. Paired with Chef Alexandra and Eder Raijof of Txikito in New York City, I spent the evening prepping, plating, and plenty of tasting. The table next to mine featured Erin Koroll, the Pastry Sous Chef of Cellar Door Provisions located in Chicago’s Logan Square. Erin had nothing but spectacular things to share about Cellar Door Provisions — down to earth staff, locally-sourced ingredients, sustainable practices — a gold star restaurant totally without pretension. I took immediate interest in Cellar Door Provisions and in July, completed my first stage with Erin. Cellar Door Provisions and my stage experience far exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t imagine a more welcoming restaurant staff and community with chefs who cared so deeply for locally-sourced ingredients and using what’s in season to maximize flavor. I knew it was a one-of-a-kind restaurant when Chef Tony let me try a teaspoon of sunflower oil and described it as “very special” to them. Though I didn’t work with Executive Chef Ethan Pikas during my stage, I was able to introduce myself to him a few weeks later while volunteering at Green City Market’s Chef BBQ.

As my internship semester during Winter 2020 nears, I have been interviewing at a variety of companies and positions in the research and development industry. I owe many of these interview opportunities to Chef Jaime Mestan of Vienna Beef (Kendall College ‘08), who has been an invaluable resource and has introduced me to a number of professionals in the R&D industry. The most recent informational interview was with Chef Jason Hovan (Kendall College ‘07), who serves as the Culinary Coordinator of the South Region of Whole Foods Market. Combining quality food products, a nourishing mindset for people and the planet, and large scale influence, Whole Foods Market is my dream company.

No matter the line of work, you always hear “it’s a small industry.” I find this to be especially true with the culinary industry. It’s a tight knit group of individuals who I have found to be welcoming, passionate, and extraordinarily inspiring.

I hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of warm weather in Chicago, and I look forward to the next blog post with updates on my internship search! The photo accompanying this post is of me enjoying the lush garden outside of Kendall College. I have so enjoyed picking up planting and harvesting tips from Dan who manages the garden.

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