A delicate, woodsy aroma wafts through the entrance to the kitchen. Terrell Anistead waves us inside and over to where he’s working, picking back up on a lesson in progress. He's talking with a hospitality resident, who is in the kitchen as part of an extended “learn and earn" experience following graduation from Providence Culinary Training (PCT). Together, we learn the steps to prepare Providence Restaurant’s chicken dinner special. Afterwards, Terrell recalls the start of his own journey in the culinary industry.
“People were always telling me how good my cooking was, but I never took them seriously,” he explained. “Not until I got into some trouble and barely dodged a bullet, and then had my first daughter. Then it wasn’t just about me anymore. Then I understood that God gives us gifts for a reason, and I decided to see what I could make of it.”
And what Terrell has made of it is quite something. A Providence graduate himself, Terrell was working at Willow’s Restaurant before he even finished the 13-week, intensive educational experience. As he worked his way up from the dish pit to sous chef, Terrell made a point of staying in touch with everyone at Providence and building on his knowledge and on his connections with other chefs. “Providence drives this idea home that we need to help one another and bring others along. Now, I’m out here influencing the culture and other young chefs toward a mindset of helping one another succeed.”
Terrell says he learned a long time ago not to let the obstacles and challenges he was facing define what his life is about.
“We are still writing our stories, and it is up to us to make the new chapters what we want them to be.”
In some ways, Terrell’s journey has come full circle. Most certainly, the student has become the teacher, and we are thrilled to have him join the Providence Restaurant and Catering team as our new sous chef. Terrell says he’s loving it, and it shows. He is also booked out over the next eight months hosting crafted “table experiences,” catering events, and working on a cadre of other food-focused events as a private chef.
“PCT showed me that I had leadership skills that I didn’t even know were there. It’s not just me having a better job; it’s me crediting PCT for the person I am now--and also the experiences and opportunities I have had since that time. Over the last six years, Chef Travis (Myers), especially, has been a mentor and a friend. He gave me the space to shine; not everyone is willing to do that."
Make a date to dine with us at Providence Restaurant, where we are always serving something beautiful.