Topeka chef inspires others to pursue careers in culinary arts

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka chef is giving back to the community by sharing his talent with others and he’s inspiring them to pursue careers in culinary arts.

Sean Hall, better known as “Chef,” has been an executive chef for over 20 years. His talents in the kitchen led him to unimaginable heights.

“I’ve fed dignitaries, presidents and so forth,” said Hall.

But, not before he had experienced some real lows.

“I had lost my way and been in trouble and had some hard times in my life that I brought on myself,” said Hall. “I kind of gave up hope and I went back to some of the talents God had given me.”

His own success story is what inspired him to help others achieve success stories of their own. So, he started the Hospitality Incubator Program, also known as HIP.

Through the program, he teaches people culinary and hospitality skills and preps them to run their own kitchen one day. One of the program’s graduates, Barb Hinklin, said it gave her the courage to pursue her love for cooking more seriously.

“I’ve known how to cook but I used to have no confidence in myself at all,” said Hinklin. “When I came to the HIP program, it builds up your confidence, your self esteem.”

Now, she works as a chef full time.

“What we’ve seen through our graduates thus far is that we have students that are now running kitchens locally here in Topeka, we have people that are working at hotels and casinos and it’s just phenomenal to see that the students have made,” said Hall.

Whether he’s training future kitchen professionals or helping prepare meals for people in the community, for Hall, it’s all about paying it forward.

The program’s classes were supposed to start in mid-March, but were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. So, Hall is using his free time to prepare and serve free meals to those in need.

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