Sunday, December 20, 2020

Mr. Banks Returns


In what I deem to be a huge win, sometimes the stories I let slip away come back written better and by somebody else. Case in point:

Meet Professor Tim Banks in this Q & A , Howard Community College

I met Mr. Banks in February of 2019 when I happened upon a seat at his table at the Clarksville Commons Great Chili Cookoff, held at Food Plenty. (Now the home of Bushel and a Peck.) You can read more about that day here

My tasting experience was enhanced by the fact that I just happened to be sitting at a table alongside celebrity chili judges Tonya Kennon of the Howard County Library System, and Timothy Banks, Chair of the Culinary and Hospitality Department at Howard Community College. I did not get to meet Ms. Kennon’s lovely dining companion but I can tell you she was rocking an impressive hair bow. 

It’s possible that I was influenced by that Duckpin Ale from the Union Brewing Company because I came away feeling like I should do way more networking and I had actually chatted up Mr. Banks and taken his business card hoping to touch base later and write about what he was doing at HCC. 

Yeah, no. 

Back to working full time and being the mom of a high school student and that story got away. I still have his card somewhere.

When I caught the tweet about this article I went right to it. I adore that his own origin story in the culinary arts follows the pathway of that of his current students.

That’s when I started to look for a cooking class. A friend of mine said, “Check out the community college. Usually they have classes.” I walked into Houston Community College, and immediately, I smelled food cooking and could hear the activity of the kitchen. It felt like I had found where I belonged. It quickly turned into, “What do I need to do to be here?” I enrolled, attending culinary school during the day while working in a hotel at night.

You should definitely read this piece. It’s about 1200 words which means it should take you about four minutes. That’s a reasonable amount of time to invest in learning more about a program at a local community college which is helping local students build better futures. If you are like me you will also be thinking about how all of the culinary/hospitality world will be evolving, post-pandemic. Mr. Banks’ responses make it clear that he sees that world as continually being in a state of evolution by its very nature, which I find reassuring.

Highlights of the interview include:

  • How cultivating a diverse mindset can open up a variety of career paths
  • His appreciation of the department’s warm and inviting environment 
  • State of the art culinary equipment for student use
  • How he values his fellow professional colleagues 
  • Respect and admiration for students
  • Transitioning to online learning since the pandemic
If I came away with any truly unanswered question here it would have to be, “How can anyone not like crème brûlée?”

Should I ever get a chance to share a table with Mr. Banks in the future I will definitely have to find out what his very favorite dessert is and the best way to make it. Perhaps the folks at Elevate Maryland can book him in the year ahead to talk food, education, and the best eats around town.  I’d definitely listen in.

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