Keith Loveland is determined not to let his past dictate his future.
“I dreamed of being a French pastry chef,” he explains. But the birth of his first daughter when he was just 18 and a lifestyle fueled by drugs and partying delayed his dreams.
Over the past 20 years, Keith has supported his family as a union bricklayer and a part-time restaurant employee.
“A lot of times they were both full-time jobs,” he says.
Keith’s experience in food service is extensive; he’s been a dishwasher, prep cook, line cook and sous chef.
“I always wanted to further my education,” he says. “I knew how to cook, but I didn’t know the ins and outs.”
Now at 40 years old, Keith has figured out that you’re never to old to learn.
The Culinary School is providing the certification he needs to go along with his skills, he says.
“I am here to better myself, my life and my kids,” he says.
Now in week nine of training, Keith is learning knife skills, flavor matching, proper techniques, time and temperatures and more.
“I have never really worked that close with a chef,” he explains. “I worked for them and they yelled, ‘get that done, get that done.'”
Keith appreciates guidance from Executive Chef Tim Hunter and Chef Instructor Sean McNiece.
“They care about you,” he says. “It’s just not a paycheck to them.”
Chef Tim and Sean are teaching the students to filet fish, cut whole chickens off the bone and more.
“I never really knew how to do it because we always worked with pre-cut stuff. My goal is to work in a fresh kitchen,” he says.
Keith loves cooking from scratch and his favorite recipe to prepare is Chicken or Steak Oscar, because it incorporates many of the cooking techniques and skills he is learning in class.
He has already landed an internship with Greenery Caterers. “Everything is fresh there. The meat comes in whole so we have to filet the flounder. That’s exactly what I want,” he points out.
Keith is thankful that The Culinary School is opening doors for him and that he doesn’t have to explain the mistakes of his past to land a job.
“I get up every morning, and I can’t wait to come here,” he says. I hate Saturdays because I am not here. I love coming here.”
Keith says that getting his chef’s uniform was a memorable day because it symbolizes his commitment.
“For me I was never able to complete something… something would always come up or I would get in my own way and self-sabotage myself. I take pride putting this outfit on. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken pride in something.”
For students considering The Culinary School, Keith advises them to go for it.
“The minute I walked in here, I felt welcomed. It’s not just a school. They become like a family. They want to help you. They want to see you succeed and not just succeed and graduate, but they want to see you graduate and move on,” he explains. “They want you to continue to talk to them after graduation. They help you with whatever you need, not just jobs. Whatever you need to do to survive, they will go to the end of the world for you as long as you come here and apply your self. This is the place to do it.”
Ready for a change? The next class of The Culinary School in Newark and Milford begins Monday, May 14. Click here to learn more and to apply!
there is so much to do and once you have this under your belt, you will always have a job. people always have to eat. even in the recession people had to eat.