Culinary School Spotlight: Thaighler Adkins

July 26, 2023

By Rebekah Cheong, Bank of America Student Leader

Thaighler Adkins (31) is planning on keeping her culinary passions at the forefront, grateful for all the doors the Food Bank has opened for her in pursuing her ambitions. First learning home cooking from her Mom and Grandma, coming to the Food Bank meant putting proper names to the techniques. Now, those spices and flavors Thaighler has refined within the culinary program are the focal point to her signature dishes, such as the spicy Jamaican burger. 

Knowing she wanted to get started in a cooking program, one quick online search brought Thaighler to the Food Bank’s culinary program. Above all, “the way they [The Food Bank] helps you is what I really like,” says Thaighler. Through the Food Bank’s training program, she was set up with interviews at various locations, including one she had just recently. Shortly after, Thaighler started at her brand new position! She states that “the reference from The Food Bank is reliable — when employers see that, they know you are good.”  

Ultimately, Thaighler hopes to take charge of pop-up restaurants across the United States. Some in the West Coast, then travel to the South, she hopes to learn the cuisine of each region, using ingredients local to each respective area. Being at The Food Bank has kept Thaighler curious, and helped her “lay the foundation” for different careers as the Food Bank often brings in different chefs to speak on their own experience in the restaurant business. Specifically, she recalls a particular chef who owned his own food truck. This chef not only described the food making process, but also gave students practical advice on the maintenance of a food truck business — things that Thaighler “would have never known.” 

Her ambitions for the culinary field are bright, but The Food Bank has done more for Thaighler than just her professional path. At home, Thaighler’s home kitchen has also seen significant changes. While she used to enjoy the classic box baking, she now dares to create doughs and muffins from scratch, exploring new flavor combinations that the Food Bank first introduced to her. The Food Bank has taught her to “really use her flavors and her ingredients” to their fullest, as culinary students are introduced to utilizing the farm ingredients connected to the Food Bank’s culinary kitchen. The Food Bank’s emphasis on local produce has now flowed into her own home kitchen. 

The Food Bank has helped Taighlor understand the restaurant world and build confidence in her cooking. Reflecting on her past 10 weeks in this 14-week program, The Food Bank taught Thaighler one truth to carry into her future career in the culinary arts:  “you know what you can do, so go do it.”

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