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Acacia White 3

Acacia White with a flaming saute pan in the kitchen at Taste. White is working as an intern to learn more about becoming a chef.

OSAGE | Everyone learns differently. For some, sitting in a classroom, engaging in discussions with teachers and classmates is the best course of action, while others need more hands-on opportunities at learning.

For Acacia White, the hands-on approach is giving the recent Charles City High School graduate life skills she would not be able to find in the classroom.

For the past year, White has been working at Taste in downtown Osage. She started in the front of the house, working as a server and hostess. 

However, White said she has had a passion for cooking for years. After spending time cooking with her grandmother and in school, she made the decision cooking was what she wanted to do with her life.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher,” White said, “then I realized I wasn’t the best with kids. Once I started cooking, I realized it was what I wanted to do.”

After speaking with Taste owner Jessica Baldus about wanting to spend more time in the kitchen, Baldus told White she would learn more with a paid internship.

White is the third intern for Baldus, who said she is very passionate about reaching young people in the community who have a passion for food. 

"For me, it’s a matter of necessity," said Baldus, who noted finding kitchen staff in a rural area is difficult. 

Acacia White 2

White prepping food in the kitchen at Taste.

“Those who have experience are living in bigger cities with more opportunities for them," she said. "An internship offers the chance to teach a trade job, without her having to commit to culinary schools.”

At vocational schools, students graduate high school trained in a trade, like culinary arts or auto mechanics. Interning allows a graduate to learn a trade while remaining in their community. 

“Trades jobs are sitting empty,” Baldus said. “If she sticks with it and grows the internship into a tradesman job, she could really jump start and further her career.

“Lots of people believe if they do not go to college, they are not furthering their education, now we are furthering our education in different ways.”

White said the internship has been a valuable experience. 

“I tried to read about some of these things before, but it's way better to learn this way," she said. "It forces me to do not just imagine what it should be like. I don’t retain as much reading as I can in doing.”

Baldus said interns are valuable because they are there for knowledge, are willing to ask questions and are trying to soak up as much as they can. 

White trains on all shifts and at Piggy Back, working in the back as she works towards being a chef. She's also learning about the business side of a restaurant. 

Baldus said she plans to continue taking on interns as they approach her. 

“I would like to work directly with the students to make these internships happen,” Baldus said. “We need to keep the importance of trade jobs in mind and let students know they can be just as successful in trade, as they can going to college.”


Regional Editor

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