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Bermudian pair receive BHI scholarships

Queen of the kitchen: O'Keisha Clarke

Two aspiring young Bermudian hospitality workers have been announced as the 2016 Bermuda Hospitality Institute Scholarship recipients.

Part proceeds from from last year’s second annual Tomasz Tabor Golf Tournament, held at Riddell’s Bay Golf Club, will help O’Keisha Clarke and Bianca Benevides continue their education on the island.

Ms Clarke, 31, a former waitress is now working towards a long-time dream of becoming a chef through Bermuda College’s culinary arts programme.

Ms Benevides, 18, is pursuing an Associate Degree in Hospitality Management at the college, while also completing an internship at Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

Both students received $2,500 to help with their fees for the 2016/2017 academic year.

Malika Cartwright, the Executive Director of the BHI, said: “We picked these young women based on recommendations from Bermuda College and their professors there — and both were spoken of very highly.

“This scholarship is incredibly important to us at BHI as it helps to support young people who really want to be in the hospitality industry in Bermuda. We need talented young Bermudians in this sector and don’t want a lack of funds to be the reason why they aren’t able to continue their efforts.

“That’s why we encourage the community to support the golf tournament when it comes around again by buying raffle tickets and putting together a team to play. All the money goes towards the scholarship and supporting our new Junior Chef Programme. Our support sends these young people the message we care about their future and the hospitality industry as a whole.”

Mother-of-three Ms Clarke, a graduate of CedarBridge Academy, first attended Bermuda College in 2012 and worked towards a certification in Food and Beverage Service. For several years, she worked as a server before turning her attention to her real dream of becoming a chef.

She admits cooking is not only a passion, it’s all she knows.

Her mother taught her most of her basic skills and techniques in the kitchen, and although she’s learning lots of new methods from her professors she still considers her mother’s teaching to be like ‘valuable gems’.

Ms Clarke is hoping to start her own catering company after graduating from the college this May — and will be doing it in honour of her family. “I will become a chef,” she said, “but this accomplishment isn’t just for me, it’s for my babies. This is for all of them.”

Miss Benevides is described as someone who is ‘ambitious’, ‘caring’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘patient’, ‘creative’ and ‘naturally curious’. She graduated with honours from Cedarbridge Academy in 2015 and received a host of awards including the Young Citizen Award, National Restaurant Association Food Handler Certificate of Achievement (ServSafe) and National Honour Society Certificate of Membership.

She’s hoping to one day manage a hotel or restaurant, so she can use her communication and organisation skills, as well as her passion for working with others.

For more information on the BHI’s scholarships and other community education programmes, visit www.bhi.bm.