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Snapchef Alumni Spotlight: Khari Wilcox

Chef/Manager, Ritas Catering, Waltham, MA

I used to watch my mother and grandmother cook, and it inspired me to try it myself. When I was 12, I got my first job cooking selling candy for a local organization at 12. When I was 14, I got a job as a Dock Hand at Baystate Cruises. I worked my way up through the kitchen to eventually become the Kitchen Manager. During that time I also cooked for ABCD, and local educational facility in Boston.

When I finished high school I took some culinary classes, but I learned most everything I know on the job – the “School of the hard knocks,” if you will. I switched up jobs a bit when I was younger – from night manager at a copy center to a boat manager for Baystate Cruises – but cooking was always in my blood.

I discovered Snapchef in 2012 through an ad on Craigslist. Snapchef gave me an opportunity to explore different companies. I got a chance to see the different styles, and different policies, and decide which ones I’d like to work for. My favorite thing about Snapchef is that I got to work when I wanted to. On the flip side, people always doubt you as a temp. However, you walk in and get a chance to prove yourself by showing them what you can do, and not just telling them.

I’ve lived by that, and it’s helped me my career, because I was hired by Rita’s about a year after working temp assignments. Now I run my own kitchen. Everything from ordering inventory, hiring employees, cooking food, and making sure our cilents and customers are happy. It’s a joy to work here, and while I’ve worked hard, I appreciate every opportunity I’ve been given and try to make the best of every situation.

My advice to those interested in pursuing a culinary career is to stay focused, cook clean, stay professional, and no matter how much you know, you can always learn something new. Some temps come into Rita’s and complain about being temps. I tell them “you’re only a temp because you want to be. If you stay focused, and use the opportunity Snapchef gives you, you can go anywhere in this field.”

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