As our students go out into the world sometimes their actions and what they have accomplished gets noticed. Dawn Prather is one of those individuals. The following article was published in the local newspapers.
Cutline: Alvin Community College Culinary Arts student Dawn Prather, of Pearland, works as a preparation cook at the new Cracker Barrel location near Shadow Creek Ranch. She is shown on opening day of the restaurant on Sept. 7.
Prather pursues passion for pleasing palates
The opening day of the new Cracker Barrel location near Shadow Creek Ranch was just as exciting for at least one of its employees as it was for the approximately 1,600 guests who flocked in to appease their palates.
As the constant stream of customers kept the crew hustling throughout the day on Sept. 7, Dawn Prather, of Pearland, was doing her part in the kitchen to keep the food flowing and reveling in her first official day serving the public as a culinary arts professional.
“I just thought I would never be good enough to do it, but in the last 10 years I realized I was good enough to do it,” Prather said of finally pursuing her passion for cooking at the age of 42.
The position at Cracker Barrel will serve as an internship to help her finish a Culinary Arts certificate at Alvin Community College. It will also serve as an invaluable learning opportunity.
“The time at Cracker Barrel will definitely be worth it to move on toward my goal,” Prather expressed. “I ask a lot of questions; it’s difficult, but I’m learning.”
“Cracker Barrel believes in old country cooking and country style and giving everybody a chance…that’s how they are,” she continued.
For Prather, it serves as an excellent example of what she plans to accomplish someday.
“Eventually I want to open my own restaurant…food for the family, food that sticks to your ribs, like old world cooking,” she stated.
Prather stepped on the path toward her goal by enrolling at ACC in 2007.
“I had worked everywhere…Dillard’s, Michael’s…but food was my passion. Coming to Alvin (Community College) was like a second chance,” she said. “I devoted all my time to going back to school, getting an education and getting some kind of career.”
“It had been 25 year since I was in school and it took time to relearn study habits and test habits,” Prather added.
In addition to her husband, Prather credits her success to ACC Culinary Arts Director Leslie Bartosh, CEC, FMP, for helping her to get through.
“If you have any problems, he will help you in the best ways he can,” she mentioned. “I had test anxieties and he pulled me to the side and said, ‘why don’t we work on it.’”
“He sees each student as an individual and helps them as an individual any way he can,” Prather continued.
“Dawn is a determined individual who has demonstrated strong self-motivation in her studies,” Bartosh stated. “She approaches her studies with tenacity, dedication and a desire to learn all that she can; she is constantly performing research to broaden her horizons and understanding of food.”
Despite the time it took to get her first culinary arts job and the time it will take to learn what she needs to know to open a restaurant, Prather said she encourages anyone, regardless of age, to pursue their passion.
“It takes time, but if you work hard you can get there,” she said. “In the end, it’s well worth it.”