Getting a Taste of the Culinary World: Kiana’s Internship at The Hotel Hershey

Inspired by her family’s home-cooked meals growing up, Kiana joined the Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management Services career pathway at Milton Hershey School when she realized cooking was her true passion. Through the school’s Career and Technical Education program, Kiana takes in-depth culinary classes and represented MHS at the National ProStart Culinary Invitational in April.

Kiana’s eagerness to learn and excel in the culinary field led her to a summer internship at The Hotel Hershey.

“I like learning and being able to chop food and know someone will eat it in 20 minutes. I just love the whole thing about it,” she said.

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Some of Kiana’s favorite parts of the internship have been performing interesting tasks like dismantling lobsters and developing her plate presentation skills. She had the opportunity to do a bit of plate design for the hotel’s shrimp salad, which involved twisting the salad into a spherical shape and aesthetically placing shrimp, potatoes, and asparagus on a teardrop plate.

Through the internship, she credits The Hotel Hershey’s talented chefs for supporting her education and expanding her skillset. She also credits MHS culinary instructors for giving her a solid foundation beforehand.   

“MHS really helped me prepare, so I wasn’t taken aback by anything [in the internship],” said Kiana. “But anything [The Hotel Hershey] chefs had to teach me, I was definitely welcome to.”

Simple culinary tasks, such as chopping onions, were teaching opportunities despite her culinary knowledge. Kiana learned that every chef has their own preferences, so she pushed herself to ask her mentors thoughtful questions about their techniques so she could meet their standards. The professional insight she gained from her internship helped her build significant life skills that she can apply at home and in the workplace.

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“I now know how to be patient, and I’ve learned not to complain—especially because we spend a lot of hours on our feet,” Kiana shared. “I also learned to accept my mistakes and use them to get better. In the kitchen, everything isn’t going to go right. Someone might burn a pizza, but you just have to make another batch and keep going.”

During her senior year, Kiana plans to compete in the ProStart invitationals and continue learning from chefs at The Hotel Hershey, so she can enter culinary school when she graduates.

“This internship helped me stay on track with my goal of attending culinary school, and I’m considering the Culinary Institute of America right now,” Kiana said. “I’m glad I was able to do this and learn what it’s really like to work in a restaurant.”

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