Jefferson State Culinary Student


Photos Contributed

Daphne Jones is not an average college student in many ways. Jones, 54, hails from Indiana, where she grew up as the eighth of 11 children, in a family that loved cooking at home. “Eating was always the topic of discussion,” Jones says. After graduating high school, she got married and put earning a degree on hold to be a stay-at-home mom until her children graduated. In May 2014, Jones completed her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Talladega College. She graduated with her youngest daughter and “enjoyed every minute of it.” She and her husband, James, have four daughters. Daphne has attended Jefferson State Community College since June 2016 as a culinary/baking and pastry major. She was named to the dean’s list this semester. She works with the JSCC culinary department as a work study student.

What does it mean to you to have been awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Birmingham Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International in support of future women chefs?

The Les Dames d’ Escoffier Scholarship has given me the opportunity to perfect my gifts of culinary through education. It has given me the support and expertise of talented women who understands success and are successful. Women who are willing to share and encourage me to successful culinary dreams. I believe our dreams are like recipes that leads us to success. We configure, prep and prepare. Many times, the recipe must be reconfigured over and over again. But, each time the feedback allows us to perfect what was deemed impossible. These women are so courageous – having experienced their own challenges in the food industry and now ready to inspire me through my journey of success. I’m excited and so eager to learn, glean, create to a future success as a female chef. My personal quote: “There are no mistakes, only feedback to perfect what was determined impossible. Never give up, never stop learning, have faith and never stop trying – never give up.”

What are your interests and goals in the culinary industry?

My plans are to own and operate my own bakery/café. I would like to incorporate French pastries in my bakery/café. The techniques and precision of their preparations are part of what I would like to achieve and maybe even push the culinary boundaries to create French desserts in an acceptable new way. My plans to achieve this are to educate myself here at JSCC and continue to apply what I have learned. Internships, experience and continual research are all good tools to accomplish this.

How will this scholarship help you accomplish this?

The confidence I have gained thus far have given me hope of a lifelong dream to operate and own my own bakery/café after graduation. Also, completing the savory program is another goal as this will give the skills needed for the café. This will allow me to display my talents in two culinary accomplishments in a knowledgeable and professional manner. Now, my experience with Les Dames d’ Escoffier is an awesome dream come true. I remember when I first started at JSCC and was required to do a research paper of famous persons or groups in the culinary field. Yes, the history of Les Dames d’Escoffier was my research paper topic. It was fascinating to see the determination of women who were experts in their talents––in a male-dominated field––persevere. To become accepted and recognized by such an elite group of male chefs. It was inspiring to me as a female. I could only dream of becoming part of these dedicated women as I knew it would be an awesome experience.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a culinary degree in preparation for a future career?

I have been in the kitchen with my mother since before kindergarten. I remember not wanting to go to school because I knew I would miss out of participating in making my mothers’ famous peach cobbler. She would fill orders of delectable dishes – various pastries for coworkers during the spring/summer months, and it was so much fun. Having a mother teach me old recipes that were handed down from my grandmother is something I take great pride in. I am now confidently mastering those recipes in an unprecedented way for me, and making them my own in a new way. I have had the pleasure of preparing desserts for family and friends that they enjoy just like my mom. This has been my motivation to pursue formal training, to own and operate my own business. To create a culture of food conversations to enjoy. But, I have to admit it’s been a long journey, sometimes difficult and I felt like almost near giving up. Long nights studying taking test and completing projects. I’ve had a lot of what one would call “setbacks.” But those difficult experiences allow you to regroup, eliminate negative people in your life and distractions. You have to persevere and cannot allow anything or anyone to discourage you in pursuing your dreams. Trust me, it’ll all work out if you just keep pushing and don’t give up.

What is your absolute favorite thing to do in the kitchen?

My favorite thing to do in the kitchen is to recreate recipes. To take an old recipe and make it my own using the original recipe as a base to add a modern flair to the taste and appearance of the dish as well. It is so rewarding when the new recipes work. When they don’t? Back to the drawing board. I love the science of baking; it is fascinating.