Taking a Change in Direction
Katelyn Silas was destined for a career in medicine. Her high school diploma came from a health sciences magnet school, and her declared college major was pre-nursing.
But then her life took a surprising detour at the pastry counter and charted a new course for her future.
When the Helms College, Augusta Campus, opened in 2012, Katelyn traded scrubs for chef’s whites. “I’ve always wanted to be a baker,” she said. “So when we got a culinary school here that was kind of my green light to go.”
Her education at Helms College was about more than just baking, of course, including the courses in international cuisines that proved toughest for her. But she made it through to become a graduate of the school’s first Augusta class.
The best part of her Helms College education is that “it was very hands-on,” Silas said. “We had a small class, so we had a lot of one-on-one time with the teachers. If we ever had any questions, they didn’t mind helping us – coming in early or staying after.”
During her education Silas worked at Edgar’s Grille, which offers experiential learning opportunities to students at Helms College. Since graduation, she continues to work at Edgar’s where she “does a little bit of everything,” but focuses mostly on pastries and desserts – her favorite part of the job.
“I get a lot of experience, and I get to do a lot with the pastry chef,” Silas said. “We work really well together.”
Edgar’s Grille Manager Jason Aumick praises Katelyn’s work ethic and willingness to learn.
“She is the epitome of a line chef with true perseverance,” Aumick said. “She has accepted the challenges put before her and ultimately succeeds.”
Silas would like to one day move to a big city, and move up to an executive pastry chef position. That’s a long way from the hospital venue that originally was in her plans, but she says her parents were “very supportive” of that career change.