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12 July 2021

#WhatsYourSkill: “A good meal can turn your day around”

Shae White, WorldSkills Champions Trust Representative for Americas, is a passionate chef.

Shae White competes in cooking at WorldSkills Kazan 2019.
A protrait of Shae White, WorldSkills Champions Trust Representative for Americas.
Shae White with her fellow competitors in the Barbados team at the Opening Ceremony of WorldSkills Kazan 2019.

According to Shae White, the best of her skill is the ability to combine simple ingredients into something “spectacular”.

Surrounded by people who enjoyed cooking, Shae spent a big part of her childhood in the kitchen, particularly her grandmother’s. The food channel was her favourite on television. Despite that, no one believed her when she announced at the age of 8 that she was wanted to become a chef.

Already in high school, she started catering all her subjects towards being a chef. “Unlike many other people, I knew what I wanted to do. So, I did food and nutrition and home economics courses, and I loved it!”

She moved on to culinary school and did an internship at a prestigious hotel, where she was offered a job straight away. “I was very fortunate to work in my field and to work at a place that allows me to grow as a chef and as a person,” says Shae.

In 2019, that passion led her to be selected to represent Barbados in WorldSkills Kazan 2019.

As soon as the first coronavirus cases were confirmed in Barbados, Shae felt compelled to leave her job for health reasons. “I went from having a very fast life – I’d go to school in the morning, work at night, I’d come home, I’d sleep – to doing absolutely nothing. I’ve learnt I am very resilient. I was stressed and I didn’t really know until I had nothing to do,” recalls Shae.

Soon thereafter, she was offered a job as a personal chef. “That was an adjustment given that in the hotel we work as a team, so you have your specific station, whereas as a personal chef I am responsible for everything. I didn’t think I’d be something that I’d be capable of, but I guess I am,” she admits.

The opportunity to see directly the reactions that people have from the food she has cooked is one of the upsides of her new job.

“The main excitement is seeing people enjoy food and enjoying the hard work that I’ve put into it. I really believe that a good meal can turn your day around.”

Shea is currently training to become a certified cook by the American Culinary Federation to broaden her future opportunities.

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