I’m back on dialysis but healthier than I have been since this roller-coaster started. I am grateful to have survived and don’t want to ever waste time in life.
Name: Shoshana Naftel
Current City : Houston
Course of Study: A.A.S. Culinary Arts
Year of Graduation: March 2017
Personal Motivational Motto: Live life and be happy
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to find inspiration. This months Student Of the Month was nominated by a Chef who made us aware of what a great student and overall person we have at our institute.
In 2009 Shoshana was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). She lost all kidney function and started dialysis in 2011. In 2012 she was diagnosed with lupus as well which caused psoriatic arthritis. In February 2014 she received a kidney transplant, however the FSGS attacked it and lost kidney function from the transplant. Trying to save the kidney, she tried chemotherapy which caused an infection in which she would need skin grafts and part or all of eight finger amputations. As of today, Shoshana says,
“I’m back on dialysis but healthier than I have been since this roller-coaster started. I am grateful to have survived and don’t want to ever waste time in life.”
We’ve seen Shoshana participate at our events and be an Honor Roll Student but here we are with even more reasons to recognize her achievements. Shoshana has definitely not wasted any time from expanding her culinary knowledge. ” I love being able to learn something different with every chef I meet. Everyone is eager to share their knowledge with me. You can’t always do it right the first time. While learning new techniques and dishes, I sometimes catch on easily, but sometimes I get it wrong the first time. I have to remind myself that it is just one mistake that gave me the opportunity to learn something new.” Things that may be easy for one person may have to be done differently by her which is another reason her skills are amazing.
“My finger amputations have definitely given me challenges from something as simple as holding a cast iron to filleting a fish. The cast iron can get very heavy for just two fingers to hold so often I roll up a hand towel and wrap it around the handle for extra leverage. I have to learn or relearn each trick or technique as I go.”
We believe Shoshanas’ culinary aspirations will never fade as she has a strong inspiration and support to cook. Her wife is very supportive of her career choice and keeps her inspired by cooking with her at home. Also, at a very young age, Shoshana’s inspiration came from her mother which introduced her to the sound, smell, and taste of Laotian food. She says every meal was elaborate and special. Her father also introduced her to Mediterranean food.
“They taught me not just how to cook, but to appreciate all ingredients and their integrity.” Her favorite dish is called laab. A spicy Laotian dish that features minced meat, chicken, or fish in a zesty, spicy, salty dressing mixed with herbs usually served with different crisp vegetables and sticky rice.
Outside of CIL, she says she would typically say she cooks in her free time but now her hobby is her career. “CIL is a great place to learn new skills or improve existing ones. You have at least one thing in common with every person you meet which helps in making new friends. The classes are small, so the chefs and teaching staff really get to spend time with any student who needs it. You get to work with great ingredients and tasting is encouraged. I have met some talented students that really know the meaning of teamwork. I love being able to learn something different with every chef I meet. Everyone is eager to share their knowledge with me. ”
Click here to learn more about our A.A.S. Culinary Arts