Miami Program Helps Make Chef Out Of Dishwasher – CBS Miami

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Michelle Phillips never really imagined she’d be where is she is now, working the line in one of Miami Dade’s largest and most prestigious hotels The Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach.

She started as a dishwasher.

“She threw me on the line and in the prep so I was doing dishwashing line cook and prep cook so I actually liked it I didn’t think I’d like it but I loved it,” said Phillips.

Now she’s celebrating a milestone, a graduate of the free eight-week pilot culinary training program in Overtown, HEAT, Hospitality Employees Advancement and Training.

It’s a program that helps Miami residents in need of steady jobs and better pay.

One year on, Phillips is a bona fide cook, learning new knife skills and all.

“I even learned how to cut a whole chicken up the correct way and they teach you all different and it’s awesome and fun you learn a lot,” she said.

It’s something Phillips needed desperately in a year that she described as one of the toughest of her life.

The mother of two says it was the day after she learned about the program, her husband suffered a debilitating heart attack and nearly died.

He did everything, I had the choice to work I could if I wanted to but ultimately he took care of everything I didn’t have to worry about nothing,” she said.

“It hasn’t been easy but you have to think about the kids and my husband and if I don’t do it who else is going to do I’m all they got at this point.”

Now it’s on her and at the beginning of a new culinary career, she’s gained more than just a new paycheck.

My favorite part is the different types of food, it doesn’t hurt that you have to taste your food so you get to eat too,” she laughed.

Before his heart attack she says her husband liked to joke and bet her that she wouldn’t stick to it, she won.

“I told him he trying to get out of it so he didn’t have to pay up on the bet,” said Phillips.

The program holds information sessions at the kitchen in the basement of the Overtown Performing Arts Centers twice a month, the next class will begin on Jan. 13, 2020.

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