Scrambled Eggs Lead to Success for Philabundance Community Kitchen Grad
Crack. Sizzle. Whisk. Voila! These are the sounds of Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) Graduate Steve Parr’s earliest memory of cooking. When Steve was just 6-years-old, his father taught him how to make scrambled eggs; he was in awe of how one could take something raw in a hard shell and turn it into something completely different, and delicious.
Growing up in an underserved neighborhood in North Philadelphia meant life wasn’t always sunny-side up. Steve faced tough decisions throughout his childhood that left him feeling like there was no hope. After losing a job as a sales associate at Old Navy, his mother told him about PCK and he seized the opportunity to revisit his childhood dream of becoming a chef and changing his current situation.
“I thought to my 20-year-old self, ‘They got food. I can cook. It’s a safe environment and no one’s going to judge me… Well, why not?’”
Entering PCK in 2008, Steve was ready to learn kitchen skills. But he wasn’t fully expecting the demanding discipline of this culinary vocational training program.
“The hardest part about the PCK program was me showing up,” says Steve. “You can teach anyone to cook, but it’s the mental game that’s hard.”
It wasn’t always easy, but he believes it was worth it because of the skills he developed both in and outside of the kitchen. Shortly after graduating from PCK Steve accepted a job working in the kitchen at the Union League of Philadelphia.
Today, Steve is working towards opening his own hospitality service in Brewerytown where he hopes to bring together some of the best chefs from across the country to provide an excellent and unique food experience in his old neighborhood. He also stays connected with PCK and often stops by to encourage future graduates.
“My advice to current students is to just keep showing up on time and see what happens. I wasn’t the best chef, but I learned how to grow. If you constantly grow then you will become the best version of yourself.”