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Culinary Student Reaches New Heights to Earn Certified Sous Chef Certification

Culinary Student Reaches New Heights to Earn Certified Sous Chef Certification

Many of us have watched the popular television program, What Would You Do? The premise is based on a simple question or scenario that requires a more complicated answer or decision. Pamela Taber presented herself with that same simple question, just before celebrating her 50th birthday.

Should I vacation in Italy? Or… Should I attend culinary school? 

Five years ago, Pamela relocated to Sarasota, Florida from Long Island, New York. On the brink of her 50th birthday and contemplating a trip to Italy, she presented herself with a ‘What Would You Do?’ scenario. Though she desperately wanted to travel, her desire for a career in the culinary arts weighed heavily on her heart and mind. Travelling was something she could always do in the future, but going back to school was realistically, not something that could be put on hold.

“It’s ‘do’ or ‘die’. I just turned 50 and I can either go to Italy for two weeks or I can enroll in the STC Culinary Program.”

After 35 years of contemplating the idea of going to culinary school, Pamela made the decision to attend Suncoast Technical College’s Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program. “I’ve always loved being in the kitchen. It’s so exciting to try new recipes and learn new ways to cook and prepare different foods.” While attending STC in the daytime, Pamela also began working at Morton’s Gourmet Market. She started on the hot line (the station where food is cooked). From there, Pamela moved her way to up becoming a culinary cook for Morton’s outside accounts.

Pamela learned more than just how to cook and prepare food during her time at STC. Under the guidance of Chef Brian Knecht, she learned the vital importance of teamwork and organization. “The lessons weren’t always easy. It’s all about a team effort and everyone working together. My mentality had always been to tackle projects on my own." Pamela was also taught the valuable lesson of organization. “Mise en place (a French culinary term for everything in its place), knowing how to get everything together before you get started so you’re not running all over the place helps out tremendously.” According to Pamela, teamwork and organization are two of the most important ingredients needed in a professional kitchen. Everyone must come together during their shift to ensure food is made correctly and in a timely manner.

After completing the program, Pamela decided to keep going with her culinary education. She returned to STC as an Apprentice to earn her Certified Sous Chef Certification. “Earning the chef title, it’s the achievement I need to get.” Pamela’s desire to be a chef runs in her family. After being taken under the wings of the chef’s at Morton’s Gourmet Market, Pamela’s daughter developed a taste for cooking. She enrolled in the daytime Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program and is currently working towards her Certified Cook Certification.

As Pamela finishes up her Apprenticeship, she is excited for the future. “I can’t wait to see what doors open for me.” Pamela is looking forward to earning her Certified Sous Chef certification and plans to savor her newfound career for years to come.

To learn more about our Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality program, click HERE or call 941-924-1365.


Micah Crosby, Marketing and Communications Manager
941-924-1365 x62247