Steven brings a passion and background in culinary skills and wellness to our team as our Wellness & Culinary Coordinator. After growing up in Virginia, Steven earned an Associates in Culinary Arts from Stratford University in Falls Church VA, as well as a Yoga Teaching Certification from Ra Ma Institute in New York. In his role, he supports our students by running our gym program, helping students plan their wellness and hygiene routines, teaches students cooking skills and prepares weeknight dinner on our main campus. One of his biggest responsibilities is to encourage healthy eating and expand our students’ food and physical interests, which Steven excels at through his relationships with the students. Steven began at Black Mountain Academy as a residential coach after previously spending over a decade working in restaurants and bakeries as an artisanal bread baker, pastry cook, and vegetarian sous chef. Little did he know when he was 18 that he would be teaching cooking to young people when he was an assistant Culinary Instructor for a summer camp called “Summer in the Arts” and was teaching middle school-aged kids cooking skills! Steven notes this has been a passion for most of his life, and his passion shows.
Steven was initially drawn to Black Mountain Academy because he wanted a shift in career paths and sought to be of service to diverse populations. He notes, “when I first started, the level of care at the school was illuminated for me, and I wanted to help be a part of that.” In his current position, Steven says, “I like teaching the kids skills in the kitchen that they may not learn otherwise and expanding their creativity. I look forward to working with the students in the kitchen and getting to know each of them as individuals. I like the process of building rapport with our students and extending the invitation for them to try new things, such as yoga, or foods that they may not normally try out. It’s always exciting to see the process of growth, and I like to help accelerate that for them.”
When Steven is not at work he enjoys spending time with his 13-year-old cat, Gus, creating illustration art, spending time outdoors swimming and exploring the special environment of WNC, and playing music. He also has an extensive collection of tea leaves and clay tea wear and starts every morning off drinking at least seven cups of tea!