From Metro Tech Culinary Arts student to executive sous chef

During her time as a Culinary Arts student at South Bryant Campus, Myava Cook won the Annual Oklahoma ProStart Student Invitational competition two years in a row. Both wins qualified her team to attend the national competition, where they placed top 20 out of 60-70 teams from across the nation. She also received seven scholarship offers to various culinary colleges.

Myava’s interest in Culinary Arts stems from her childhood, spending time in the kitchen with her grandma.

“I was raised by my grandparents, and my grandma cooked every day while I was growing up. Although I knew the basics, I wanted to learn the how and why behind cooking,” she said.

She came to Metro Tech as a high school student from Star Spencer High School in 2004, and said during her time in Culinary Arts she learned the art of fine dining, culinary techniques, and how to create dishes from scratch. These skills, Mayava said, helped her succeed in the ProStart competitions, which she described as similar to the television show Chopped.

“We had a team of four with two burners and one hour to cook a three-course meal. Prior to the actual competition, we had to create the menu and cost the ingredients. I learned a lot during that time,” she said.

After graduating from Metro Tech and Star Spencer in 2006, Myava chose a scholarship to OSU-OKC in Okmulgee to continue her culinary education. She graduated in 2009 with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts. After an internship under Chef Bill Doyle at the Renaissance Hotel in Tulsa, Myava worked for the Oklahoma City Thunder, where she managed two kitchens and served food for all the suites, including the owners of the Thunder. She later accepted a position at the Downtown Embassy Suites as a sous chef, where she reduced food costs from 60% to 28%. Today, Mayava is the executive sous chef and ranks directly under the executive chef who manages 15 employees. She visits her former classroom at SBC regularly.

“I love cooking with all my heart. My goal is to be an executive chef, maybe own a small restaurant one day.”

Metro Tech's Culinary Arts program is offered for adult students (financial aid available to those who qualify) and high school students (tuition-free) enrolled in Oklahoma City Public Schools, Crooked Oak Public Schools, or Millwood Public Schools. The program is led by Adrainne Oppong, Marjorie Hammond, and Chef Prince Mason. For more information, visit Culinary Arts or call (405) 595-4678.