Today we spotlight a very talented alum, Paige Meagher, who attended Kendall from 2010-2012. Paige is currently the chef and owner of Brix Catering & Consulting, leading a team of chefs who provide home catering services and lessons. We are thrilled to stay in touch with Paige. Please enjoy our recent Q&A with her!
KC – What made you choose to attend Kendall College?
PM – I was working as an assistant at a reputable hedge fund in Chicago when I realized I wasn’t doing with my life what I really wanted to do in my heart. I toyed around with culinary school for about a year. When I finally came to the college and did my tour, I ran into Chef Dina Altieri, whose energy and professionalism really turned me on to Kendall. Seeing the facility and hearing Chef Altieri’s enthusiasm cemented the decision for me right then and there. It was a very scary (quitting a great job during a crash in the economy) and a very exciting time because I was finally following my heart.
KC – What was your favorite class/classes at Kendall?
PM – I really loved Chef Elaine’s Advanced Fish class. It was one of the hardest classes I took, but I also learned the most. We weren’t just challenged by the daily cooking practicals (which were challenging!), but we were also taught about biodiversity of oceans and waterways and how we can be conscientious consumers every day. I also really enjoyed Fine Dining and Sustainability. Sustainability class opened my eyes to socio and ecology problems that are global. You have to learn about these problems in order to make changes and want to help the earth.
KC – What do you miss most about being at Kendall?
PM – Knowledge Bowl! During my two years at Kendall I participated on the Kendall College Knowledge Bowl Team. It was so much fun learning all the facts and trivia in the Culinary Apps book, Baking book, ServSafe and others. Mostly, it was a great experience with the other teammates. We won the national title in 2011 and took second place in 2012. I’m very proud of that. Chef Altieri was an amazing coach! Her dedication and innate interest in knowledge is always inspiring.
KC – How did your experience at Kendall prepare you for your current position?
PM – Well, without it there would be no Brix Catering & Consulting. That’s for sure. Kendall prepared me with everything I needed to start my business: cooking skills, cost control skills, professionalism. Without Jody Birnbaum’s class on starting your own business, I would not be as organized or successful as I am today. The college is also a supportive resource as we start to build our business. I email Jody about once a month for advice…
KC – What is your favorite thing about working in your industry?
PM – I love that every day is a different day. I love working with people. I love creating something from nothing. I love entertaining. It’s a perfect industry for me. I finally found a place where I thrive and my heart is happy because I am using my hands to create. It’s awesome.
KC – Where do you hope to be in your career in 10-15 years?
PM – I’d love to have our catering & private chef business in full swing with 25-50 employees, a store front with a deli, and an in-house event space where people can come have private dinner parties and take cooking lessons or host wine tastings at our kitchen and dining room, that is set up to look like an at home kitchen & dining room. We are looking for spaces now. I think if you think big the rest will follow. My partner and I work hard and spend all our “free time” on this business, so I think we can make it anything we want.
KC – What’s your advice for current students hoping to enter your industry?
PM – Keep your head down. Learn. Work hard. Ask questions. Pay attention. Enjoy the work! And this one: You aren’t too good for any task. If you want to lead one day, you have to lead by example. Always.
KC – What’s your advice for students trying to decide on whether or not to attend Kendall College?
PM – Kendall is a top of the line school with amazing facilities and dedicated staff. As we learned on our first day, no one can take your education from you. It is absolutely invaluable. Even if you think you “know how to cook,” you will learn so much more at Kendall.