Jaleel Thomas, culinary businessman

Senior, Culinary Arts student, Jaleel Thomas. If seen, please applaud.

Jaleel has received a scholarship to the North Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Program, which according to a video showing students attending the program, can greatly benefit anyone trying to pursue their business.

The students in the program submit business ideas, and if selected are given the opportunity to present their idea to real investors for funding. Jaleel was one of the 12Β selected.

“Fingers crossed his business plan will be funded,” said DianeΒ Jacques, his sponsor.

Jaleel’s business idea was to teach people to make gourmet meals on a budget. He plans to advertise his business by demonstrating skills he will teach in the classes.

“It really relates back to my mom,” Jaleel says. “She’s the one that really got me into cooking. She sort of dared me to do it.”

Jaleel said that one day when his mother came home he smelled the McDonald’s she brought with her. She told him thatΒ with a nose like that he needed to be in the kitchen.

So the next day with her help he made fried chicken, mashed potatoes and creamed corn – which is when he first fell in love with cooking.

“I burned the creamed corn a little bit,” he said, “but that’s still pretty good.”

Culinary instructor Chef Newman drove him deeper into the culinary field, Jaleel said. At first he wanted to be a cook or a chef, he said, but after three years Chef Newman got him interested in owning his own restaurant.

As far as his studies Jaleel said he wants to go to school for a culinary and business aspect.Β “They really go hand and hand,” he said.

Jaleel saidΒ that the key steps to pursuing one’sΒ own business are having persistence and determination. The idea, he says, is to have a passion, something you love doing. His advice to others is to find something you like to do, or generally want to try out.

“You never know until you give it a shot,” Jaleel said.