Yadiyah Letellier Chef In The Making
His name is Yadiyah and several weeks ago I came across photos of his work that were posted on Facebook friend Carla Hall D’Ambra’s wall and I was very moved and inspired. Yadiyah is seventeen years old and his life’s passion is to become a chef, he is one of 13 kids and is defying the odds. We are honored here at Chattin In Manhattan to interview him as one of our featured chefs. His dream is to attend Monroe College for Culinary Arts and is working on raising funds through grants and loans to attend. He recently won a contest for his Deep Dish Apple Tart dessert. For those who know him, they will tell you that Yadiyah in an inspiration and someone to model their life after.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I always enjoyed cooking and watching my mom cook, and watching the food network but I really didn’t look at becoming a chef because I was focused on basketball till my sophomore year in high school. I then started thinking about my future and I started to taking a cooking class at my local Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club. I started to really get into cooking and my chef instructor was amazed with my skills. I decided that I wanted to become a chef and I believed that I could really make it as a successful young chef. I got into the culinary arts skills program at Barry Tech in Westbury, NY, and got a job at North Shore Country Club that summer of 2010 where I started to build on my skills in the kitchen. As I finished up with my 1st year of culinary arts skills program, I started to get job offerings but I decided to play basketball for the summer of 2011. So it got closer to the end of the summer and I got an offer from Glen Head Country Club. I got very excited to get back in the kitchen. Once I met the head chef Clifford Goodman I was set, and he was great guy.
What is the biggest challenge you face to becoming a chef?
The biggest challenge Is in perfecting my dishes, trying to make them over-the-top, and giving the people what they want. Also having to juggle the life of a chef and a basketball player is a real challenge with all the extreme basketball workouts and games. Then comes the crazy chef life with long hours in the kitchen and finally, making all meals “worth the wait” but I’m ready for any challenge thrown at me.
Who is your chef hero?
My Chef at Glen Head Country Club, Chef Cliff Goodman. He is amazing and he inspires me to be better. I always look forward to seeing and working with him. I feed off of his energy. I’m grateful for his guidance.
What is your favorite dish that you make?
I have noticed that I am really into deserts now and I love all the art and passion that is put into the making of a dessert. My favorite dish to make is an apple tart with a homemade vanilla bean ice cream, homemade caramel sauce, garnished with a chocolate twig covered with almonds crumbs. This is my favorite dish to make because it has all the components that a dessert should have. This is also my favorite dish because it brings a smile to my face every time I make it. It makes my clients happy, too! There are so many creative and delicious possibilities starting with a simple apple…
What can you tell others striving to make it as a chef?
Be prepared to work hard, put in long hours, move at the speed of light, and to be able to excel under pressure. It’s so satisfying to create beautiful, delicious food for others to enjoy…it’s really not work for me. It’s a way of life. Oh yeah, wear comfortable shoes. Sometimes it’s all about the shoes..