“What sparked my interest in this vast culinary world would have been when a representative from Johnson & Wales came to my high school. During the demonstration they showed me there was more to cooking than what I’ve just been doing at home cooking simple meals for my little sister, brother, and mother”
“I really am nice once they get to know me”
Chef Le’Keith has had his fair share of excitement in his 12 years of cooking professionally. This comes as no surprise if you have ever been to Santiago’s Bodega on a busy day. Even before becoming the Executive Chef of this Spanish Tapas style restaurant, he was never having a dull moment having worked at all 3 location all over Florida. With everything thrown at him each day, Le’Keith is more than prepared because he has a strong culinary foundation to rely on. Even before attending both Le Cordon Bleu and The Art Institute, he was inspired to go to culinary school by a recruiter from Johnson and Wales. “A representative came to our high school for a demonstration and showed me there was more to cooking than what I’ve just been doing at home for my little sister and brother or from what my mom taught me.”
After getting taste of making food that people fall in love with there was no stopping him from continuing on the path to become a chef. At his core he believes that a chef means to “be creative without boundaries, it’s an endless world of knowledge that you can only limit yourself on. Training someone to love what you do and hopefully they love it as much as you do is the best feeling”. This also explains his attitude towards anyone who looks down or doesn’t regard chefs with a high esteem in the professional world. According to Le’Keith “there are few things in this world we need to survive, food that taste great is one of those things which is why chefs are needed”. This mentality defiantly is solidified when you can walk into a dinning room each night after service and see the guests happy and satisfied with you and your teams hard work.
This Florida native hasn’t always been in one place through, he actually ventured out onto something many chefs are afraid of, cruise ships. Now most chefs and cooks will say that the sheer work on cruise ships keeps them away, but for Le’Keith he overcame something much worse to work there. The worse thing that can happen while floating on a ship is to get sea sick, well imagine working for months with that feeling everyday. This just shows how determined, or stubborn Le’Keith is when he puts his mind to something and says he will accomplish it. He expresses this advice to new line cook as well “listen, take notes, always be willing to help and jump in to learn as much as you can. Don’t kill yourself over a job that will replace you in a heartbeat”. As for now you can catch Chef Le’Keith in Florida making delicious food and before the year is out you can learn some techniques from him if you tune into his new cooking show that’s he is bringing to YouTube, “Cooking the Wright Way”.
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