Despite hearing impairment, Culinary student sets big goals

January 5, 2017

Matt Machulski is deaf.

But he never let his hearing impairment stop him from accomplishing his goals.

With many years experience in the food service industry, Matt came to The Culinary School with significantly more experience than some of his classmates.

He spent ten years working in kitchens in Washington, D.C. and had positions as a dishwasher, prep cook and more.

Matt, however, has encountered adversity in the kitchen.

Through his interpreter, Tracy, Matt explained, “I have a lot of experience with the job, but people outside they look at me, and they think ‘you’re deaf, you can’t cook because you need to hear,’ but you don’t need to hear to cook. I use my eyes. I have been working for 10 years and they still tell me I can’t be a chef.”

A family situation brought him to Delaware three years ago. “I had to leave my job, my home. I didn’t have the money,” he explained.

Here in Delaware, Matt worked in a corporate cafeteria setting, but was not able to land a position in a restaurant. “I applied for different jobs and interviewed for different places. My mom told me they kept telling me I couldn’t work there because I was deaf.”

Matt found out about The Culinary School thanks to some internet research performed by his mother, a teacher at Villanova.

He attends training at the Food Bank’s Newark facility Monday through Friday. His interpreter, Tracy, uses sign language to communicate class material. Matt communicates with fellow classmates and Chef Instructors Donnie Stephens and Jesse Santiago and Executive Chef Tim Hunter through body language. Communication has not been a problem.

Thanks to the formal instruction received at The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, Matt is learning how to run a kitchen, be a sous chef and more; he also has the opportunity to receive ServSafe certification.

Chefs Tim and Donnie encourage Matt to study so he can pass with good grades, arrive to class on time and help other classmates.

He is confident that the formal training will help him get to the next level.

“My goal is to become a manager in a restaurant or get my own restaurant one day, because I already have the experience of dishwasher and prep cook. I want to advance myself,” he explained.

He is currently interning at 8th & Union in Wilmington and is able to communicate with co-workers without the help of an interpreter.

In ten years, Matt envisions owning his own restaurant that serves a variety of foods.

And to his naysayers, Matt says, “I would show them my resume and all of my work experience. They think because I am deaf I can’t do that, because I can’t call a name, but you can come up to me and we can write things and show me how to do things. It’s simple, it’s not complicated, I don’t need a voice.”

Looking for a career in the food service industry? The next 14-week class of The Culinary School in both Newark and Milford begins Monday, February 13! Apply today by clicking here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *