Updated: Apr 26, 2021
We had a hunch about Daryl “DJ” Myers as he walked up to get his Providence Culinary Training diploma last December. We weren’t sure what it was, but we thought that he was about to make something good happen.
Nine short months later, something good did happen: something very good, especially if you have a sweet tooth. DJ launched the already successful DJ’s Cheesecakes, making and selling his homemade cheesecakes in an incredible variety of flavors.
It was clear to us that a successful graduation from PCT wasn’t the end of DJ’s story, but, of course, DJ’s story doesn’t start with PCT either. After working for years as a CNA and getting in trouble with the law, DJ decided he wanted to make his own way independently and find something he truly loved to do that would fill his life and heart. With the help of Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, DJ found PCT, which he thought would be a good fit because he already loved to cook.
PCT students learn a lot of things, from kitchen safety and protocol to knife skills: some days you can find the students finely dicing buckets upon buckets of carrots and celery and looking a little weary. Over the 13 weeks they are enrolled, PCT students learn how to prepare dressings and sauces, roasts and briskets, and soups from recipes that serve hundreds. But it was the day that they learned about cheesecake that DJ knew he was hooked.
He posted a picture of the cheesecakes he made on social media and the response was incredible. He truly enjoyed making them and wanted to perfect the art; the response from social media indicated there must be a market. So, DJ made his first attempt at selling his cheesecakes during Thanksgiving (2016)–and he was more successful than he had ever expected. This was something needed to take seriously.
DJ’s Cheesecakes has now become an established business. He says the response has been unbelievable and is “motivation in itself.” He sells whole cheesecakes and slices on a weekly basis throughout Winston-Salem; he is even selling to various restaurants and businesses throughout town, like Sweet Aromas, mini markets, and of course, Providence's social enterprises at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, NC.
A favorite recipe through the fall season is DJ's delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake, which was also featured in Forsyth Woman’s Rosie’s Review.
We are, clearly, huge supporters and fan’s of DJ’s Cheesecakes. He says his friends and family are a huge support as well—some of his biggest advocates. DJ obviously spends a lot of time making cake, but he doesn’t want to want to lose sight of what’s important: his family, friends and the relationships he’s creating with his new business.
DJ says that his time and training at PCT “is the root of everything that I’m trying to accomplish.” For DJ, PCT means “unlimited possibilities.” We can all see that in everything DJ has achieved thus far.
Want to try a slice of DJ’s Cheesecakes? Keep up with where he is during the week on his Facebook Page!
Providence Culinary Training is a collaboration of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC and Providence, Forsyth Tech Community College, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, America Culinary Federation, Catalyst Kitchen By Farestart, and Feeding America.