Having gone to Sullivan University, I feel like I gained about 30 years in kitchen knowledge. There are several skills that I learned at Sullivan University that I apply daily at my job here at Willie’s Locally Known. Everything from the basics, such as making a stock from our pork bones that we smoke, or something as complex as making a compound sauce. Everything, everything that I do here is deeply impacted in one fashion or another by something that I learned at Sullivan University. I still get to work hand-in-hand with many people that Sullivan University connected me with, directly through my externship. This is a tattoo of the Sullivan alumni symbol. But I wanted it somewhere I’m going to see it. It reminds me of everywhere we’ve came from, all the things we learned at Sullivan, all of the great memories that we have from there, as well as the knowledge that still comes with it. It reminds me of the pride that I put on every piece of food that I send to a table.”
Going through the different classes and learning the classical way to do things, and then the practical way to do things. Being in culinary arts and in the catering concentration, we got to do a lot of actual events for the catering program and travel off-site. A lot with Derby, which is huge in Louisville. A lot of private, social events. We even did some weddings while were at school. So it’s not just the learning environment we got; it was very much hands-on, practical experience we got, and that was always a lot of fun.
Joelle Upton Savor the Flavor
My experience at Sullivan was awesome. I don’t think I was a traditional student. A lot of students were younger than I was. But it was so easy for me because I loved it. And the chefs were great. I kept in contact with some of them after school, and they helped out a lot with where to go from school, what to do next.
Well, Sullivan University has given me just a plethora of really great opportunities. I was able to travel with the team to go to the Olympics, the Summer Olympics in Beijing in August of ’08. And then I actually returned to the Winter Olympics in February of 2010 and was able to go to Vancouver as well. And then later that year, I started filming a show for Cooking Channel, which is nationwide. Cooking Channel is Food Network’s sister station. So I film a show with them. It’s called From the Kitchens Of, and it airs every Sunday morning and then it’s also rerun throughout the week. And then I was also presented with this wonderful local opportunity, which we are in the set kitchen now at Fox 56, where we film the Kentucky Proud Kitchen. Go for it. Don’t be scared. You never know what’s around the corner. If you do what you love, all kinds of opportunities will make themselves available.
Sometimes here, our chef will come up and be like, ‘Jenna, I need you to make <blank>.’ And before I’d been to school, I would’ve been like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can do that. Let me read a whole bunch of books and maybe try it two or three times.’ But after going to Sullivan, I have a little bit more confidence. I understand the theory more tying in to that part of it. And so I can go, ‘Ok, I can do that. Let’s try it.
I make stocks here, I make sauces here, I break down different types of produce, meat, seafood, every day. I just keep learning more here. I’d say basically a lot of the stuff I learned from Sullivan comes right back here and I just keep building on.