Before he graduated from high school, Cameron Williams had to make a decision: Go to four-year college, or go to culinary school. Ultimately, he did both – and much more.
“Culinary is a true passion of mine,” Williams said.
“I knew I wanted to go into cooking,” he said, even while studying business administration at Hampton College in Virginia. He started a catering business and “absolutely fell in love with it,” Williams said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do: I wanted to work in the food industry and start my own company.”
After receiving a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, followed by a two-year detour as business manager of a dental office, Williams reawakened his culinary passion by enrolling in evening classes at Helms College. His professional education filled in the gaps of his practical experience, but there was one more experience he wanted.
“I wanted to study abroad. I didn’t take that chance during undergrad, so I thought with culinary school, this would be a great opportunity,” Williams said. “It’s very important for a chef to travel, to experience the cuisines of the world. So it seems like the perfect industry to study abroad.”
So while his Helms College classmates were finishing their final quarter in March 2016, Williams was packing for departure to Barcelona, Spain, after securing a place in the prestigious Live It Out internship program. For the next month, he was immersed in Spanish language classes before starting 12 to 15 hour days at the internationally renowned restaurant Roca Moo, part of Hotel Omm in Barcelona.
“It was full-on working in the kitchen from Day 1,” Williams said. “You have to pick up things quickly.”
He soon learned the value of his Helms College experience. Thanks to the state-of-the-art equipment in the Helms College culinary labs, he already was familiar with the high-end kitchens at Roca Moo. The fundamentals proved to be important, too: His early ServeSafe training prepared him to deal with the restaurant’s fast-paced production.
Back in the United States, and with a goal of creating and owning his own restaurant to provide healthy, nutritious food, Williams has more education ahead: He’s attending Georgia State University to earn a Master’s Degree in nutrition, while continuing his culinary education as an instructor at the Young Chef’s Academy in Atlanta.
Along the way, he’ll continue building toward his culinary dream. “Failure is not an option for me,” he said.
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