Meet Reynolds Culinary Student Denton Taylor
2018 Elby Student of the Year Award Winner
Photo by Richmond Magazine
What motivated you to study culinary arts?
I went to college after High School to study Business Administration. It never occurred to me to go to school for what I was passionate about, instead I went for what made the most sense. When I moved down to Richmond it was my first time living on my own and with that comes great responsibility. I had to start cooking for myself, got very creative with it, and eventually fell in love. It took me a little bit to find out about the Culinary program at J. Sargeant Reynolds but as soon as I did I applied, and the rest is history!
Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am in my second-year spring semester as a full-time student. After I complete this semester I will have about 9 credits to take over the 2018 summer semester while applying for graduation!
What are you working on now?
My classes right now are Menu and Recipe Management, Nutrition, and Food and Beverage Service Management. I am also participating in my 400-hour Culinary Management Externship at Wegmans Food Market. This externship has allowed me to utilize everything I have learned and am learning now in the program in a professional industry setting.
What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
Besides the obvious answer being cooking, I love learning about the industry standards and trends that once were and what they are now. Knowing the history behind the industry is often very valuable in understanding why the industry is the way it is now and where it is headed.
What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
I would love to open a Gastro Pub that focuses on food quality, presentation, and beers and wines local to whatever area I decide to settle down in. I also want this idea to have an emphasis on sustainable and local food sources.
To be awarded the designation of Elby “Student of the Year” you are a dedicated student. Who has motivated you along the way?
Motivation stems from all mentors and role models I have in my life. These include my mentors at school, work, my family, and my friends. I will say the most important and powerful source of motivation in ones’ life is ones' self. I was not always this driven and was often distracted by things that were not important to my overall successes, short or long term. It was up to me and only me to change my behavior, motivate, and believe in myself. You are your greatest ally and enemy. Finding an equilibrium between the two can be a very powerful thing.
What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
I would tell them to head in a direction that they are passionate about and that brings them happiness. I found out at an early age what really makes me happy and I went with it. It happened to be food and the foodservice industry. The Culinary program at Reynolds is an excellent place to start if you share the same passions as me. The program is in goods hands with Chef Jesse Miller there to lead and there is no ceiling on how great he and the program will be.