May 25, 2016, Lansdale, Pa.—Joshua Julien began his foodservice career as a dishwasher at age 18. He rose through the ranks in busy restaurants in Kentucky, Florida and his recent job, as a sous chef for a four-star restaurant in Blue Bell.
Even after 20 years and much success, Julien, of Blue Bell, wanted more.
“I love what I do,” said Julien, who graduated in May from Montgomery County Community College’s Culinary Arts Institute with an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Culinary Arts, with a Professional Culinary Arts concentration. “I wanted to go to school and get a degree.”
During his time at MCCC, Julien earned so much more than a degree. He cooked alongside chefs-turned-instructors who constantly pushed him to do better and “tell you do to your best.”
“That was really a good thing,” he said. “It reassures you that this is how it’s supposed to be.”
His college education helped the Haitian native with cooking terminology and enlightened him on various ways of cooking.
“It really opened up my eyes,” Julien said, adding that it emphasized more than ever, “this is what I want to do.”
Julien, who initially went to school for computer electronics, found his way into the kitchen by accident. While watching a cooking show on television, he recalled seeing the chefs receive compliments for outstanding meal preparation.
“I kind of liked that,” he mused.
Years later, hearing Montgomery County Community College chefs commend him on his accomplishments brought the experience full circle.
“Teachers are available to help you out,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
Amazing too are the tasteful seafood dishes, vegan recipes and soups and salads Julien enjoys creating. His friends encourage him to open a shop to make and sell his soup concoctions.
Eventually, Julien would like to open his own restaurant. For right now, he has set his sights on obtaining a bachelor’s degree, while continuing to work full-time in the industry.
Regardless of what he learns by furthering his education beyond Montco, Julien will always hold close to him one of his greatest cooking lessons, which he learned at MCCC: “Most of the good chefs get started washing dishes.”
- Theresa Katalinas