Atarah Thompson is a 27 year old student at the Culinary Institute of America since September. She attained an associate degree from the University College Cayman Islands in hospitality management, however after graduation Cayman didn’t offer a higher degree in the culinary arts and her finances were limited.
Thompson expresses her gratitude to Kenrick Webster, of Webster’s Tours, for believing in her and giving her the chance to further her studies with a donation of $19,077.
Webster said he locally sourced the funds to send her to school with a big chunk coming from Ergun Berksoy, co-owner of Crystal Caves Cayman and owner of Seven Mile Investment Co. Ltd. The donation made it possible for her to go to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, which he said he was quite familiar with because of their high standards and since he had supported another student through the same programme.
“Some of her earliest memories are of being in the kitchen and breathing in the divine smell of her grandmother, Mary Ann ‘Frances’ Ramoon, cooking homemade cakes and patties. It was nothing fancy, yet the flavours were outstanding and stuck with her – especially her conch stew and barbecue chicken.
“By cooking, I feel I can bring a part of me and what I have learned to the world and to make my family and my country proud by bringing a part of us to them,” Thompson said.