By: Nikia Wells
Since Lesanna Simon, Vainete McCoy, Rayanna Watkins, Kristianne Thompson, and Alexa Hunter joined Ravell Rollins in the Showman kitchens, the intern team has been getting a hands on education about the ins and outs of working in a professional culinary environment.
The next several posts in the Showman…. The Next Generation Series will highlight their experiences, as young culinary minds, in their own words….
Meet Rayanna – Finding Her Voice Through Cooking
“My mother used to cook a lot. Every holiday, every family event, every Christmas, every birthday – my mother and my aunts would create these massive spreads. Every food that you could think of, they would make it. And, for as long as I can remember, food has always played a big part in my life.
That connection between food and family really inspired me to become a chef.
My family – they are my heartstrings, especially my sister and my mother. I’m usually very quiet. A little silly, love being around my friends, and listening to music at home, but I’m still kind of shy and don’t speak much until I get really comfortable in my surroundings.
I’ve always enjoyed being able to cook something, and expressing myself through my food….
I always liked pastries, and I love baking. I aspire to one day be able to make novelty cakes, and as a kid, I would watch Food Network and get inspired by their creativity. It was amazing to see simple ingredients that you can find anywhere, just being transformed. I remember watching Buddy, the Cake Boss, and seeing all of these moving parts. And, after all of their hard work, the cake itself was so beautiful. It is my dream to be able to do that one day.
I’ve created cakes before, but not at that level, as yet. I really just enjoy practicing and getting better.
I was really nervous when I first joined Showman because I didn’t know what to expect. But, everyday has been something new, something interesting, and I’ve been able to learn so much about so many different countries, as well as their cultures, how they cook, and why they cook it a certain way. It has broadened my horizons on the possibilities of food. I realize that I don’t have to just stay in one box, or do things one particular way – I can explore different approaches to food.
Chef Romero has been amazing. I don’t think that there is anywhere else that I could have gone and met anyone like him. In the short time since we’ve all been interns, he has always taken an interest in each of us. He calls me “Ray Ray”, and always asks us all questions. He quizzes us, challenges us, and it is clear that he is doing everything that he can to push us to succeed. That type of encouragement – it makes me want to do better. It makes me want to ‘come correct’. It has kept me on my toes, and inspired me to want to learn more, and to make sure that I’m not just learning, but getting more comfortable with what I’m doing in the kitchen. I appreciate that.”