Remember when I blogged that I just wanted one? One student that would take some of my lessons and run? Well Meet Charalyn! First check her out with Jen Pascua on WZZM, then read her thoughts.
My name is Charalyn Martin and I began my career in Chef Tommy’s Kitchen Sage Program. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in life, and I sure as hell didn’t expect myself to thrive in the culinary industry. I was fascinated by the way my mother and aunts cooked family meals. This fascination grew and by the time I was old enough to use the stove without burning the house down, I experimented. At this time I was more interested in music than I was cooking. I was literally playing 3 different instruments and writing poetry by age 8. As I got older, cooking still secretly grounded me. It was a way for me to create art. Create laughs. Create smiles. Every moment that reeked of heartache, I lightened with a “C’mon honey I got something that’ll fix that”. The way I could shine light on a person’s day became my new “thing”.
The way we handle food, I recently learned, is a beautiful way to solidify emotion. Treating each ingredient with love and care gives food the comfort homey feeling we all look for. The passion and purpose with each knead of flour and stir of stew is what I developed intensely. This trait I carry is what feeds not only the body, but the spirit. My passion for BOTH the food and the people work hand in hand with healing. I personally consider myself a healing chef, but in all honesty what kind of food DOESN’T heal?!? Working with Chef Tommy has taught me an abundance of new skills and knowledge of myself. I didn’t know someone could make a living out of cooking.
So seeing Chef Tommy do his thing and not have to live on the street completely shocked me. I was taught the basic fundamentals of the kitchen, but those have not been my most valuable lessons learned. Watching the way Chef Tommy treated every single person he met inspired me. I used to be a shy and quiet person, but he taught me how to be comfortable with not only myself, but with other people. In a world of conserved people, I am not even sorry for hugging you our first meeting. This new culture of love, acceptance, and HOSPITALITY became my new norm. Completely shaping and EVOLVING from my younger self, I have grown into the individual I am today. Intelligence and maturity wasn’t something I needed work on as much, but becoming comfortable, open, and quick on my feet is something I needed the most. Chef Tommy knew that from the start and that is exactly what he worked me through.
I soon understood that the culinary world is EXACTLY what I was made for, and I work everyday to improve my skills. I will be attending the Secchia Institute for Culinary arts at GRCC this fall. I want to thank Chef Tommy FitzGerald for not only steering me into the path of success, but for giving me the tools to evolve into a better version of myself.
Thank you for listening
Wylliam, Charalyn, and Sylvia serving at the American Disabilities Act Celebration Summer 2015