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Bishop shines a light on Providence

Dressed in her crisp white monogrammed chef’s jacket Bishop, 29, is busy in her role as Culinary Lead at Providence Catering, where she ensures the kitchen is operating as it should.

A graduate of Providence Culinary Training, a program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, Bishop says that Providence played a role in her journey to finding peace and satisfaction in life. She compared the process to the knife skills she learned in the program. When she first began rapidly chopping and slicing, it was uncomfortable, but she practiced every day.

“After my mother passed in 2015, I realized that I didn’t know what I liked, what I wanted, what I felt,” she said. “I surrendered my life to God. If I’m going to live this life, I cannot to do it my way anymore. When I chose to let go, I was overwhelmed with a peace past my understanding. I just knew I was going to be all right. That was the first piece of joy I’d ever had in my life.”

You’ve got to be conscious about what you’re doing, and just do it,” she said. “I feel like I figured out that formula for what is a good day or how to figure out how to have a good life. It’s about the choices you make and how you perceive what’s around you. I only let in what I know is going to benefit me or lift me up or keep me at ease. I do not entertain any negativity. I choose to be happy. To be the light for someone else.”

Bishop was homeless when she enrolled in Providence Culinary Training.

“I was in school for something I never thought I had access to,” Bishop said. "I didn't think regular people like me could go to culinary school; I thought that it was just for T.V."

She lived in her car throughout the 13-week class, yet she spent her lunch break sharing quotes in a community meeting with Providence classmates, where people shared how they were feeling and strategies they used to get through their days.

“I would give them a quote that helps me during the day,” she said. “It went from classmates to the next class, to the instructors. It grew. What motivated me is creating motivation for my classmates and whoever was in the program. Because my philosophy is if you are the light, how can you ever again experience darkness?"

Bishop graduated at the top of her Providence class with the most volunteer hours and was named Most Valuable Student by her fellow students.

Bishop moved into her new apartment earlier this year, and she is studying at Providence to become a sous chef. Chef Vanessa Lanier, Executive Chef for Providence Catering (a social enterprise of Second Harvest), promoted Bishop to Culinary Lead this past July.

“Bishop has the determination required to be a great asset in a professional kitchen,” Lanier said. “She has strong organizational skills, is a team player, is dedicated to a job well done. She cares about the task at hand, but what has impressed me more about Bishop is her grit and discipline.”

Bishop said Lanier has been a key support.

“I feel like I owe so much to her,” Bishop said. “She saw things in me that maybe I didn’t even see in myself. I trust her judgement. She’s done so much for me outside of work, so much spiritually, emotionally. She made me believe I deserved more. It’s OK to fail; it’s OK to forgive yourself.”

Providence Culinary Training offers a variety of programs, including a Culinary Fundamentals Certificate; an Advanced Culinary Certificate in which individuals choose a focus of baking, catering, or line cook; Barista training; and GRACE, a hands-on adaptive culinary program designed to empower cooks of any ability level with skills and knowledge to operate with independence in the kitchen.

Lanier, who is also a graduate of Providence, shared an African proverb, “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feels its warmth.”

“I believe we must embrace our people and our community,” Lanier said. “It is the only way forward. If you are reading this, and you find that you lost your footing, then this is for you. You are magnificent. Reach out to Providence. You are not alone.”

For more information, visit our Providence Culinary Training page.

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Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

3655 Reed St. 

Winston-Salem, NC 27107

Tel: 336-784-5770

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