Doreece Dyer, a passionate food educator is Program Manager at the Sylvia Center and previously served as community chef instructor for the Teen Culinary Apprenticeship Program and teen program coordinator.
What does food mean to you (or what is your relationship with food)?
Having a southern family, food is one of the foundation’s of our gatherings. Food to me means community. I would watch my grandmother cook all of the time. She would let me help prep but never allowed me to cook. She would make massive amounts of food to ensure that family, friends, and those in need would have a great meal. Due to complications with diabetes her ability to cook was very little. My grandmother gave me the green light and everything I learned from watching her I was to reproduce. I knew from then on that I would feed people the same way that she did.
What are your goals or what do you do want to accomplish through your work?
I’ve always wanted to give more exposure to different types of food. I would like to break the cultural cycle of only eating what you know. With TSC I am able to do just that. Being able to expose people to new things is my goal.
What advice would you give to your students and what do you want them to take away from cooking classes?
Take the lead. Sometimes the best way to impact a life is to show them a new way. I challenge all of my students to take an extremely unhealthy recipe that they are used to eating at home and revamping it. This way it encourages those around them to follow suit.
What inspires/motivates you? What social issues do you care deeply about?
The difference in children today vs children of the 80’s and 90’s motivates me to bring some type of stability back into people’s lives. I look forward to helping people everyday but see that children often feel left out. Due to the greatness that we call social media, people overall are starting to lack compassion and interpersonal skills. While in a kitchen with me I give them the freedom to be themselves and also empower them with much needed life skills.
Could you share a female figure that has deeply influenced who you are today?
I love Julia Child. She wrote her own rules and made a path for herself. That is admirable in every way. I would like to believe that I am in a lane of my own. I appreciate others but stay true to myself.
Do you have a favorite dish that you like to make OR what’s your current favorite recipe?
I love pasta with garlic butter sauce with broccoli rabe. The bitterness of the broccoli rabe brings everything together.