By Lanna Hernandez | CareerWise Marketing Coordinator Apprentice
Junior Lilly Hindman from Eagle Valley High School recently became a CareerWise apprentice in the Hospitality pathway. She’s learning the ropes of what it takes to achieve her dream of becoming a chef, by getting hands-on experience at the Westin Riverfront Hotel.
Deriving her passion from her family roots, Lilly has been honing her culinary skills longer than most people her age. “Ever since I was little, I always wanted to cook. I always cooked with my dad, it was something we bonded over,” Lilly explained. She heard about apprenticeship during a school assembly where it caught her interest as a way to pursue her dream career in the culinary arts.
Even outside of work Lilly practices her culinary skills by preparing meals for her family, “When I got better at cooking, I started making dinner for my family. Now I even make meals for them on special occasions,” Lilly said.
By working and learning in a professional environment while still in high school, Lilly is able to grow her technical skills in the kitchen and practice the essential soft skills that are applicable everywhere–especially in her future aspirations to be an entrepreneur.
“I am learning more and more and getting ahead of my plan now, far more than I would have if I’d just been working in a typical teenage job. I am learning how to better manage my time, and how to not get too stressed out,” said Lilly. “I would say I am more professional both at the job and at school.”
In her apprenticeship, Lilly is in charge of checking in with the other chefs and seeing what they have planned out for her for the day. Tasks usually include kitchen maintenance, preparing the foods, and organizing the kitchen for the busy day ahead at the Mayan-style restaurant at the Westin. In order to be successful in her apprenticeship, she has had to apply skills of listening and understanding, time management, and organizational skills.
“I’ve been an apprentice for about 6 months now, and it’s been very fun–I’ve been learning lots of new things such as how a kitchen runs, how to cook different foods, and the proper knife skills, which are really important in a kitchen,” said Lilly.
Lilly eventually plans on attending college, a move that will help her achieve her dream of opening her own café. “I want to continue working in culinary and attend business school,” said Lilly. “I want to have my own café where I would sell cute breakfast pastries.”
When asking her if she had a message to the next generation of apprentices, Lilly adds, “Don’t forget to have fun, have fun with your job, and if you don’t have any work for that day, have fun with friends! Don’t get too focused on one thing. Love what you do.”