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Growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas you are always surrounded by food. Living in the house with a Jamaican mom and Irish dad made cooking almost a given in our household. Everyday we would have fresh bread, homemade sweet tea. And a dish of their choice: some type of jerk chicken or corned beef and cabbage. All of that changed when my mom and dad divorced and moved to Chicago, and I stayed in Texas, when I was 13. I stayed with my sister and she was a mediocre cook.
When I turned 15 I decided it was time for me to move with my dad in Chicago. Living with my dad was great he showed me a lot of things, one in particular cooking. My dad showed me the art of seasoning, and instilled the. I lost scholarships importance of love for your product. It was then I started to dibble and dabble with some cooking of my own. I experimented with baked chicken, breakfast food items and then I ventured into the harder product like meatloaf and fresh peeled potatoes.
My senior year of high school came and I was back in Texas. It was almost time for me to graduate and I had no clue as to what I wanted to do for my future. I lost athletic scholarships and I hit a brick wall, so I talked to some Navy recruiters and I signed on the line for 4 years. It came time for me to select a job and what do you know there was Mess Specialists, which later on became Culinary Specialists.
My first year in I hated my job due to the fact, that I washed dishes majority of the time. It was until one day my Leading Petty Officer came to me and said that I had to cook dinner. I was very nervous, cooking for a crew of 125 was a bit much for one person. It came time to serve dinner and I forgotten to cook one main item, lasagna. I quickly made the decision to make spaghetti that my dad taught me. It was an instant hit and I got so much feedback from that.
Last year in the Navy and by this time I was 7 years in. I got orders to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. By this time I had been cooking for awhile now and I am good at it. It took one BBQ to solidify the deal on what I wanted to do once I got out. I put on a awesome spread of chicken, side items and roasted a whole pig.This got me the name grill king and island q.
On the outside, I continued my cooking endeavors at restaurants in Texas. It was when I back to Chicago that I felt I got my calling. I was hired as the grill cook onboard the Odyssey at Navy Pier. The work there was great, but i not until I got a chance to make a V.I.P plate for Jay Cutler. I put my all into grilling him a amazingly well cooked lobster tail, piped mashed potatoes, and a vegetable bundle. It got me a great review and a handshake from Jay himself.
Watching a lot of cooking shows, cooking at home, bbq in the summer has rejuvenated me. It has brought me to the conclusion that I am suppose to cook and nothing else. All my years cooking in the navy and my little experience in restaurants, has driven me to open my own catering business once I graduate. And this is why I chose the culinary profession