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Culinary Careers

Here’s Some Advice for Prospective Culinary Arts Students

Photo: Courtesy of Holly Stratton

Julio Chaves

Culinary Arts Management Student, SUNY Delhi

Julio Chaves, currently studying in the Culinary Arts Management program at SUNY Delhi, shares his story and gives advice to prospective students.

What made you choose your program?

I knew I wanted to become a chef. I heard that SUNY Delhi had a very well-known culinary program with a reputation for hands-on education and winning competitions and awards. I wanted to join the program and the hot food competition team. The program has given me both a culinary education and an opportunity to travel to competitions. This summer, I competed in New Orleans and won the title of National Student Chef of the Year.

What aspirations do you have upon graduation?

I want to find a mentor that can teach me new techniques. I want to keep learning within the industry and be able to get my executive chef certification within the next 5 years. Ultimately, I want to own my own Mexican restaurant.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Be dedicated and love what you do. Have a lot of passion for the craft and a willingness to learn. Wake up every day ready to work hard, refine your skills and become successful. Get yourself out there, join clubs and help out with events. Ask for advice from the chefs on campus.

Who has been your biggest inspiration along your journey?

My family moved to the United States from Mexico when I was 5. Their struggles motivated me to work hard in school and go the extra mile. I’m grateful for everything they’ve taught me. Professionally, my biggest mentors are my professors, Chef Sean Pehrsson and Chef Victor Sommo at SUNY Delhi. They taught me everything about culinary skills and are giving me career and life advice.

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