Columbus chef earns grant from superstar chef Jacques Pepin

It is been a desire deferred for two a long time. Now, Shannon Jefferson is one particular substantial action nearer to reaching it.

Jefferson, a 38-calendar year-outdated Columbus resident, is the inaugural receiver of the Gloria Pepin Memorial Grant, awarded to the top female graduate of a group kitchen method supported by the Rhode Island-dependent Jacques Pepin Foundation.

The plan in Columbus is termed the Culinary Arts Institute at the Open Doorway Local community Property. The grant is named in honor of the superstar chef’s wife, who died in December.

Winning the grant, Jefferson informed the Ledger-Enquirer, is “an incredible feeling. … I am blessed to essentially acquire this.”

Jefferson requested the newspaper to not report the grant amount of money, but she explained it will enable her pay the startup costs to build a foods truck and catering organization. She’s thinking soul foods, “but I want to put my personal spin on it.”

Enthusiasts of her cooking hope she contains her signature macaroni and cheese on the menu.

“It’s a good dish,” she stated. “I’ve had persons in fact request it a great deal.”

Dying delayed program

In 2002, for the duration of her first semester in the culinary application at Johnson & Wales College in Charleston, S.C., Jefferson remaining faculty to assistance her mother in Augusta when her father died.

So she delayed her program to turn out to be a chef like her mother.

Rapid ahead to 2012 in Columbus, wherever Jefferson arrived for “a new start out.” A mate explained to her about the Circles system at Open Doorway, which helps men and women increase out of poverty by connecting them with mentors in bigger financial classes.

In 2015, even though working at the Aaron Cohn Center Faculty cafeteria and Smoothie King, Jefferson graduated from the Culinary Arts Institute at Open up Doorway, a no cost 20-7 days schooling program that will help individuals discover kitchen and daily life capabilities to succeed in the food stuff industry.

“This system was a desire arrive accurate,” mentioned Jefferson, now a supervisor at Charley’s Philly Steaks on Fort Benning. “… It was a weight lifted off my shoulders simply because I had been striving to do this for so, so extensive.”

Her standout characteristics

Jennifer Quigley-Harris, the foundation’s director of donor, member and local community kitchen area partnerships, described why Pepin and his daughter, Claudine, chosen Jefferson out of the 10 candidates.

“Jacques and Claudine had been impressed with her emphasis and her resolve and her motivation to bettering herself as perfectly as everybody about her,” she said. “Her personality shone by way of on her video assertion, and I believe that they were just impressed with her particular advancement and her get the job done at Open up Door Neighborhood Home.”

Octavia Downing, the culinary method coordinator at Open up Door, described Jefferson’s reaction when she received the news about profitable the grant.

“Seeing the contentment and the pleasure and the shock on her deal with, it was a big joy for me, observing her acquiring what she desired and desired to transfer forward,” Downing told the L-E.

Further than discovering the important competencies, Jefferson also is grateful for the encouragement she obtained from the friendly people at Open Door.

Up coming, she will show up at Open Door’s incubator system to master the business capabilities she requires to come to be a food stuff truck operator and caterer.

Downing is confident Jefferson will succeed in the field.

“You can come to feel the enjoy in her food stuff,” she claimed.

To sign up for Open up Door’s courses or get extra details about the nonprofit organization’s mission to develop prolonged-phrase alternatives for ending poverty, connect with 706-323-5518.

Ledger-Enquirer personnel author Mark Rice addresses education and other difficulties similar to youth. He also writes function tales about any persuasive subject matter. He has been reporting in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for a lot more than a quarter-century. He welcomes your area news strategies and issues.

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