STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: JEFF CLARK
Jeff Clark never thought that when he signed up to compete for a
spot on Executive Chef Brent Gorman’s chili cook-off team that
he would end up with a job as a prep chef in Gorman’s kitchen,
but that’s exactly what happened.
Clark is a second-year Human Nutrition & Foods major in the
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. His interest in
food and culinary arts was sparked around age 13 when his family
started getting the Food Network on television.
“I loved watching the Food Network and one day my dad suggested
we try making one of the recipes that Emeril Lagasse showed,”
said Clark. “After that I was hooked.”
His path to a position with UH Dining Services began when his
friends heard about the chili cook-off competition for student
assistants. Clark was known in his residence hall for being one
of the few people to actually use the community kitchens to cook
his own meals, so they suggested that he enter.
After winning a spot on the cook-off team, Clark got to spend an
entire afternoon with Chef Gorman as they competed against the
Rice dining team to create the best chili.
“Working with Chef Brent was great,” said Clark. “He is just so
knowledgeable. It was like having access to this crazy
encyclopedia of culinary facts, and I just loved getting to ask
him all kinds of questions.”
Clark wasn’t the only one impressed, because soon after the
competition Chef Gorman approached him about a part-time
position on the catering kitchen team. Clark accepted and has
been working as a prep assistant in the kitchen ever since.
“I thought I knew a lot about cooking when I started, but it
didn’t take long for me to realize that I actually had a lot to
learn,” said Clark. “It’s like I’m in Kindergarten again, but
Chef Brent is a great resource and Manuela, the lead cook, has
been very patient in teaching me how to do different things
around the kitchen.”
It just goes to show that you never know where your next job
opportunity might present itself, but if you put yourself out
there and keep your eyes peeled anything can happen.
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