The Dart: Cooking up a career

Published 12:01 am Monday, May 7, 2018


The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — The melody “Pomp and Circumstance” is ringing through the spring air, which can only mean graduation season is here.

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William Whittington said he is expecting to receive his degree in culinary arts from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

The Dart landed on Live Oak Drive on a recent Thursday evening, which happens to be near Whittington’s house, where he stood outside tending to two of his three dogs — Mia and Reva — just like he normally does.

Whittington said he is thinking about where life will take him next.

“I’m just trying to figure it out now,” Whittington said, adding he had applied to be a cook at The Castle Restaurant and Pub at Dunleith, and he hopes to earn enough funds in Natchez to settle down somewhere.

“I just want to stay for a little while and hopefully get enough money to head on out,” Whittington said. “Hopefully I’ll find a place — a nice spot. … My Pop and Mom got me into cooking, and I did pretty decent at it, so I decided I’d try culinary school.”

Whittington said he and his parents, Lisa and Buddy, are all Natchez natives and moved back from Louisiana a few years ago. His parents taught him to cook at home, and he later picked up a few more tricks in school.

Whittington said his favorite dish is chicken Alfredo, and he also enjoyed learning to make traditional beignets under his instructor Susanna Sharp.

“We always just called her chef,” Whittington said. “She is very good at what she does. She taught us more about exotic foods than anything else — teaching us to open our taste buds to new things.”

Whittington said he has always enjoyed baking different types of pastries, and he explored many different career possibilities before he found cooking is his passion. Whittington said he thought about being a concept art designer before studying marine biology at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“That kind of went out the window really quick,” he said.

After one semester at USM, he decided culinary arts offered better possibilities for him.

“Designing plates and cooking — you got to have a good skill to do that, especially with the more complicated stuff,” he said, adding that cooking is an art — people “taste with their eyes before they eat.”

“I always did like art,” Whittington said. “(Cooking) is a good way to be creative.”