Culinary Alumni Spotlight: Chaz Smith

March 18, 2016

Chaz Smith graduated from The Culinary School in Newark last May and has been working hard as a line cook at 6th & Pine, the restaurant located on the second floor at the Christiana Mall Nordstrom store.

Employed since July, Chaz may already be up for a promotion to a lead position.

“I am just trying to keep learning,” he says.

Working at the restaurant full-time, Chaz loves the fast-paced kitchen environment.

The contemporary restaurant features classic American foods like burgers, chicken, salmon, salads, soups and more.

Chaz’s favorite menu item to prepare is crisp roast chicken with fingerling potatoes.

“You have to pay attention to it more – on top of cooking other dishes,” he explains. “It makes you really learn to multitask.”

With no formal food service experience prior to The Culinary School, the training prepared him for employment at 6th & Pine. A two-week paid internship at the Westin Hotel closed out Chaz’s 12 weeks of formal training at the Food Bank. As an intern at the Westin Hotel, he had the opportunity to work hands on with both banquets and food prep.

“When I got here [6th & Pine], I was ready,” he says. I didn’t feel like I was the new guy. It was just learn what the dishes are and start cooking.”

Chaz stays busy in the kitchen.

“I like 6th & Pine because there is never a time to be still,” he explains. “You can always find something else that you can help with or stock for the next shift. It really keeps me occupied. I have learned a lot since being here. Chef Dan, our head chef, is amazing.”

Looking back on his experience at The Culinary School, Chaz now understands why former Chef Instructor Sean McNeice was so tough on him.

“I just want to thank Chef Sean,” he says. “He used to ride me a lot. I always wondered ‘why is he like this?’ Chef Sean told me at the end, ‘You are one of the ones I know who can make it. I have to give it to you the way you’ll get it in a real kitchen. You are going to deal with a lot of attitudes.’ And, honestly I was prepared.”

For students considering The Culinary School, Chaz’s advice is simple, “Go. Straight like that. You gotta go.”

Ready for a career change? Click here to learn more about opportunities offered through The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware!

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