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Cooking professionally was never something that Shalonda Purdy grew up wanting to do. Cooking was something she did at home for her family; it was natural to her, but never something she thought of as a job. Now she is a professional cook at the Hard Rock Café, much thanks to the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK).

A year before attending the Philabundance Community Kitchen program, Purdy found herself unemployed. She had worked for a transportation company, chauffeuring people around the city, but she had been let go. She had started thinking about pursuing a job in the food industry when her friend who was in PCK told Purdy about the program.

Though Purdy had missed the enrollment deadline, she did not stop pursuing this newfound opportunity. She consistently called Philabundance and spoke with anyone who would tell her more about PCK. She continued to be persistent until finally Desiree Neal from PCK called her and asked if she wanted to enroll in the next class.

Catch Sholanda’s story on 6ABC’s Faces of Hunger series.

The program was great for Purdy. She was able to improve her existing cooking skills as well as gain new ones. She learned how to cook for large groups of people, how to convert recipes when needed, and how to work in a restaurant kitchen. She gained knowledge about the food industry and the restaurant business, which were all things that helped her get her job at the Hard Rock Café upon completion on the program.

Now that she has found her passion for professional cooking, Purdy only wants to learn more about it. She has applied to the French Culinary Institute in New York City and seeks to master her newfound craft even more.