WSOC-TV interviews students working to change their lives


Jan. 28, 2017

WSOC-TV anchor Stephanie Maxwell filed the video above about her visit with Culinary School students and staff. Watch the video here. Accompanying the video was this text:

“Eyewitness News anchor Stephanie Maxwell learned how people who’ve had obstacles finding a job are now sought after by local restaurants.

“A Charlotte culinary school is helping people make major life changes while learning their way around a kitchen.

“Eyewitness News anchor Stephanie Maxwell learned how people who’ve had difficulty finding a job are now being sought after by local restaurants.

“A culinary school caters to people who’ve had tough personal battles but want to start over.

“’I’ve had an addiction problem. And this is just one of my dreams,’ culinary student Tamya McLaurin said. McLaurin has now been clean for 9 1/2 months. Her next goal is to open her own business. ‘I have a dream of owning a catering company that specifically I could employ women with children,’ McLaurin said.

“Bianca Moss also had issues with drugs and alcohol.  Cooking wasn’t her dream but she’s learning everything she can to eventually become a chef. ‘We’ve made roux sauces.  We’re going to debone chicken today,’ Moss said.

“Executive director and chef Ron Ahlert said it’s inspiring to see these students transform their lives. He said when they complete the 14-week program, they’re in high demand from local restaurants and can make a good salary. ‘We have chefs visiting us on a regular basis that want to see our folks in the training process,’ Ahlert said.

“The school has had 950 graduates, including Senico Bennett. Bennett, who has a felony conviction, graduated at the top of his class and now cooks for Friendship Trays and does catering. ‘Trying to stay connected to people, with people, who are positive and keep doing positive stuff without going back to a life of drugs,’ Bennett said.

“Students can prepare food for the school’s on-site restaurant, Encore Cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch. It gives the students experience in serving the public.”

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