A job you love, isn’t a job at all!
Mar 06, 2017Student Leadership Development Institute Blog
By Kevin Ellul and Matthew Cowles
A Job You Love, Isn’t a Job At All
Mentor: Kevin Ellul
For myself, I graduated High School in a small town located in Southern New Jersey and I grew up to love the art of cooking. I have grew to love not only €œcooking € in general, but the complete concept of hospitality. I also love and respect the ingredients that I work with as well as the new techniques that I learn every day. Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be a chef €” and a zoologist, artist, photographer, baker, and writer; like all five year olds, we want to be everything when we grow up. However, this passion for animals, art, photography, baking, and even writing €¦ evolved into one cohesive career set: A Chef. The characteristics of a chef or a cook in general involves passion. For starters- this career is hard on you, it pushes you down, wears you out, causes you pain and agony- only to push you back up, to give you hope, experience €¦ a thick skin.
After high school, my passion for cooking became a lifestyle €¦existing in the upbeat city of Philadelphia. I was finally enrolled in a Culinary School at Walnut Hill College; A historic, colorful, friendly, and unique place where minds alike come to co-exist and learn to become the best that they can. When I first walked into my first kitchen class, my stiff maroon neckerchief itching at the back of my neck, I looked up and saw a man in a tall white hat, a crisp white apron and black chalk stripped pants. He greeted everyone with such a joyous attitude. The first thing he stated was: €œA job you love, isn’t a job at all. € Another, €œSoignÃ© € €” The care and effort to do something with great care, finesse, and a strong passion. From that moment on, I carried those words with me throughout my two and a half years here. Everyday, I try to improve myself by 1%. Therefore, everyday, I grow 1% stronger, 1% more knowledgeable, 1% more respectable, and 1% more creative; by the end of the year I €™m 365% better than the previous year.
Throughout my time here, I have taken my thoughts and changed them into actions- learning from my mistakes. I started from the bottom and worked my way up-within my career and my campus life. In the beginning, I started as a normal college student: afraid and shy of meeting and losing friends, to ride on the subway for the first time, even waking up everyday without having my family around me. I transitioned into a more comfortable and confident person within finding myself. Working hard, showing those around me that I care and I won €™t give up. I was appointed a member of Walnut Hill College €™s Residential Learning Committee, helping others when needed, directing them in a path of success, showing leadership. I am now within my second to last term, I am now a Student Leader (a great proposition given to students who excel), a recipient of many awards for outstanding excellence within my involvement at the college, perfect attendance throughout my degree (and working on my second), and many more awards for withholding a high GPA of above 3.7.
Being here has made me a better leader and my own individual person. Because of my leadership and passion, I €™ve had the ability to create and execute a themed menu for the public out of thin air, my first being very successful, and hopefully my second coming this April (Chocolate, Coffee, and Spice). So many challenges have occurred as the years went by, as they will come and go throughout my entire life. I’m very excited to see what my future holds for me, as well as scared. However, I will keep pushing myself to become that 1% better in everything that I do. I will keep pushing to complete my goals €”with one of them wanting to obtain a Master €™s Degree, and another becoming a restauranteur.
Doing What You Love
Mentee: Matthew Cowles
A few years ago I can say that I had not a single clue of what I was going to do with my life. I had read countless articles to try and spark a flame and get the creative juices flowing, but it never worked. Then after high school I went to community college, still not knowing what life had in store for me. I took a blind leap into my studies, first I started with a liberal arts major hoping to find that spark in one of my classes. I did find something that interested me, my introduction to personal psychology. I decided to switch majors later that week. I loved this new road I had taken myself down, but after a while I started to doubt myself, there was something, a thought in the back of my head. Is there something else, how can I switch again? I asked myself, could it be my love for food? No, I couldn’t be, I would never want to do what I love doing every day for the rest of my life. That would just take the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?
A short time later I was talking to a career counselor. Everything kept leading us back to food, and my love for others. I knew then and there that I was meant to cook which led me to my next leap. I scheduled a meeting at the Walnut Hill College €¦I was so nervous. When I got there and began my tour, nerves began to settle, and my interests heightened. We walked into a kitchen and they were cooking seafood that day in class. The chef welcomed us in during their class tasting as they had just finished and we’re going to talk about their dishes together, as well as try each other’s. Chef invited me to join the process €¦I was so intrigued. I felt as though I were in a fog, thinking €œwhy had I not come sooner €. I am grateful to have met Chef McLean in that room.
I enrolled immediately, without hesitation. I was no longer worried about ruining a hobby, because I would be gaining a career. I like to think it is true, that if you do what you love, you will never truly work a day in your life. It changed everything for me. I was no longer struggling with school work, I was getting grades I had never got before. I was never happier, in fact I still feel this way. I owe it to Walnut Hill College for making me who I am today and proving to me that anything is possible if you put in the work. I wouldn’t change anything given a second chance.
My inspiration and the drive I have for cooking comes from my mother. She spares no expense when it comes to meals, always going the distance, never settling in on a routine of the same seven dishes for the week. Instead trying new things and opening or minds and hearts to new foods and flavors. I love this industry, the people, the friends, and places I get to experience. There is always something to be done, always something waiting to be created, just waiting on the artist who can bring it to life.
Matthew Cowles, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, graduating class of July 2018