Tuesday, March 10, 2020

For this Culinary Student

Reynolds is Home

Growing up, Keonne Lomax watched cooking shows. His hero: International Chef and Restaurateur Gordon Ramsey. Ramsey was tough, his expectations sky high. The  chaos, the high energy, the drama, all sparked Keonne's curiosity. 

Later, at Armstrong High School, when given the chance, Keonne took his first culinary arts class, Culinary Arts 1. In 2016, his Junior year, he took Culinary Arts 2. That year he was offered a kitchen position at Peter Paul Development Center preparing meals for the staff and for the Center's after school program. The offer was a perfect fit. Keonne had been going to Peter Paul's after school program since his 4th grade year. 

In 2017 Keonne graduated from Armstrong. By the spring of 2018 he was enrolled in Reynolds Culinary Arts program. "It was like coming home," Keonne said of his decision to come to Reynolds. "It was easy to access. Comfortable. I was instantly drawn to Reynolds."

Keonne doesn't bemoan his full schedule. "I work all day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I'm in class all day Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. I have American Regional Cuisine, my favorite class so far, until 3:30, I get about an hour break, then I have Food and Beverage until 9 p.m. I do homework at night and on the weekends." 

Perhaps watching Gordon Ramsey in action prepared Keonne for his long days and the multitude of tasks he would be asked to perform in the kitchen. His attitude and outlook are overwhelmingly positive and focused. "I love to do everything," he says without the slightest hesitation, "learning about different cuisines and cultures is fun stuff." No doubt, he has found his niche.

Keonne expects to take his last class, his Capstone class, in the summer of 2021 and graduate from Reynolds that fall. What's next for him? "In the short term I'd love to get into catering," he says, "then I'd like to be a traveling Chef, traveling around the country, then around the world. I'd like to go everywhere."

Given his drive, enthusiasm, curiosity, and desire, it's easy to picture Keonne going "everywhere".