By Web Master, 9-07-12
||Caption: Symone Atondo | Courtesy photo, The Culinary Institute of Montana
Talents and abilities: we all have them whether they lie in cooking (as does one of my passions) or somewhere else. When we use our talents to help others, it inspires community and personal growth as well as friendship.
My earliest memory of “cooking” was when I was about 6 years old. My older sister and I were making soup with red fuzzy flowers, dirt, detergent (don’t tell my dad), and anything else we could get our hands on.
Then, when I was around 12, my great grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. I can recall being a little bored (and somewhat apprehensive to socialize since I didn’t know many people there), so I asked if I could help serve the cake. It turned out that I loved seeing the smiles on the faces of people who were so happy and thankful to receive a piece of cake! (I mean, who doesn’t love cake?) I realized that the experience also provided an easier way for me to meet more of my family.
Through the years, I have learned much more about cooking and serving others. My mom was a server at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant, and my dad was a barber. I learned that both my parents’ careers offered not only a way to help others by fulfilling different needs but also a great way to make friends. I loved (and still do love) to watch my dad be so precise while cutting hair and listen to him converse with customers. He listens to their stories, gets to know them, and they banter back and forth – the customers just love him!
When I became a single mother, I started working in the food service industry, waiting tables at fine dining restaurants. I enjoyed getting to know people (and making good money to support my family was a plus, too!). I started attending a church and serving in the kitchen with someone who would later become one of my best friends. It was there that I discovered I could make a genuine friend doing something we were both passionate about – cooking and serving others.
I have since fallen in love with those two things. Cooking gives me an outlet to be creative, and serving others (not only through food) allows me to get to know people and make great friends. I am now a student of The Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC where I hope to further develop my cooking skills so I can use them to serve the community by working with local public outreach programs and helping others learn new skills to support their families.
So, what are your talents and, more importantly, how are you going to use them to help others? Life is an adventure – make the most of it!
Symone is a student of The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com
or call Instructor Hillary Ginepra at 756-3862.
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