Keyera Padilla


Braising, Sizzling, Grillin’, Poppin’ good. Going up to the 400 building, you may be cautious considering the students at this school, but you get entranced by that smell. A smell you cannot pinpoint that instead makes your stomach crave. Like a cartoon where the character sleeps and flies in the air smelling away the food, you try to make your way, desperately to see where that smell is coming from. 

Behind the classroom is a kitchen with all sorts of busyness. Looking around the kitchen you see a variety of students wearing aprons distinctly different from the minority of students wearing black jackets. A sign of superiority. Judging by their path throughout the kitchen, they seem to know what they’re doing. The bell rings, and suddenly you’re sucked back into reality and late for class. The thought of a student-led class doesn’t seem too bad since seeing the black jackets working hard. 

Among those jackets is junior Keyera Padilla and since her freshman year she’s been involved in culinary’s Terrier Café service. She migrated to culinary by the likes of her older sister who convinced the Chef de Cuisine (Head Chef Dunn) to take her in the Culinary 2 course, which is an upper-level course taken after Culinary 1. Despite not knowing the basics and jumping right into the path of preparation and service, she adjusted well to the training, and it paid off because of her attained status as one of the Sous chefs; a second in command. 

“I went straight into being on-line and doing sauté, so it put me ahead of the curve than the other kids in my grade,” she said. 

Currently, in her third year of culinary and partaking in two culinary classes, Padilla helps the underclassmen referred to as ‘Culinary 1 students’ prepare and stock food for café days. In this hierarchy system, it’s a repeating cycle that helps them when they become upperclassmen and teach the same things to their underclassmen. Padilla expresses gratitude for her apprentices as they aid her in the cooking process and begin to learn new things. She also sees a replicate of herself in them, since she was once in their shoes at the beginning. 

“At the beginning of the year, there’s been such a big difference. A lot of them are starting to feel so much more comfortable with themselves,” she said. 

On the days when the Terrier Café is busy, and a specific line has loads of orders, Padilla is able to help. She is a versatile student and is cross-trained in the café’s salad, sauté, and flat lines. Her senior year is approaching soon, so it’s a great opportunity for her to have time to improve and train others just as she was before. Padilla also takes it easy on the students when they make mistakes because she then and even now experiences it. 

Due to her attribution to the class, Head Chef Dunn gravely appreciates Padilla’s help in his 2nd period Culinary 1 class because of the estimated 40 students. 

“She is able to convey direction, teach with patience, and lead with sincerity,” he said. He also believes that she has the potential to do great things given her position and being a sort of mentor to her. 

As for the people who are interested in the culinary arts class, Padilla entails the surrounding environment and impressions. “It’s nice to have that second community behind your regular friends, you have your culinary friends,” she said. Although her forte is training others and prepping with the other Sous chefs, she is ultimately an all-rounder in all stations.