Claudia has always had a talent and passion for cooking.  As a child, she learned by watching her mother and grandmother prepare meals for the family.  As an adult, friends and family loved her cooking so much, they told her she should cook professionally.  However, Claudia pursued other career opportunities, including becoming a brick layer.

Then, in the summer of 2013, she was involved in a serious car accident, in which her vehicle flipped over three times.  Claudia was severely injured in the crash, but miraculously, she survived.  Although unable to work due to her injuries, Claudia felt fortunate to be alive.  It was at this time she decided that as soon as she was well she would pursue her dreams of becoming a professional chef.  Claudia now says she is “here for a reason.”

Claudia at Inspiration Corporation - Uptown.

Claudia at Inspiration Corporation – Uptown.

While Claudia pursued her physical rehabilitation and a return to health, a friend recommended Inspiration Corporation’s Foodservice Training program.  She attended an orientation, passed the test, and enrolled immediately. She quickly bonded with her chef trainers and became one of the strongest students in her class.  She calls Chef Sharon, “a great teacher,” who is patient and always willing to answer any question.  She feels motivated by Chef Jason, who brings his extensive experience in professional kitchens to every lesson.  Her Case Manager has become a trusted resource and friend. “Any time you need to talk, she’s there for you, and that’s what a case worker’s supposed to do.”

Claudia has very recently finished her internship, and she is more ready than ever to achieve her goals.  Her long term goal is to open a food truck, selling fresh seasonal fare that will be satisfying, yet healthy for her customers.  She describes her cuisine as, “food that will still let you have energy…something that will go with the season; that brightens your day.” 

Until she is ready to open her business, Claudia looks forward to working, possibly in a food truck or on a boat, while she furthers her education.

Claudia’s is a truly inspirational story of not letting disaster spell defeat.  Her message to youth in the community is,

“You can do anything you want to, if you put your mind to it.  There are people out here that will help you.  Do what makes you happy. Not what other people want you to do,” and “follow your dreams.”