Humble beginnings

Culinary Arts student reflects on grandmothers influence in pursuing her dream


Photo courtesy of Kyla Pippen-Price

Kyla Pippen-Price credits her family for her passion for cooking.

Daniel Shahollari, Staff Writer

Kyla Pippen-Price grew up in a very close-knit neighborhood in Detroit, on a block full of family members and close friends. She used to spend most of her time in her great-grandparent’s house, a staple in their neighborhood. With the ups and downs that everyday life had it was always so heartening to see her family come together at the end of the day with so much love and care for one another. Everywhere people were laughing, kids playing, aunts talking and cooking, uncles grilling or watching sports, but all in all, they were simply enjoying each other’s company. Growing up with so much family molded her into the person she is today.

At a very early young age, Pippen-Price discovered a passion for cooking.

“I was around six years old when I first tried cooking on my own,” she said. “I had just watched an episode of ‘Sid the Science Kid’ and in this episode, Sid and his classmates and teacher learned to make pancakes. I was so excited to have learned something new.”

Pippen-Price gathered the materials needed and went at it while her grandma supervised carefully. During the process of pouring the batter into the skillet she went on to make a pancake as wide as the bottom of the entire pan.

Her great grandfather removed the pancake from the pan and Pippen-Price marveled at her creation.

“I followed the pancake with my eyes up until my granddad put it on his plate and ate it right in front of me! We all had a big laugh about it, and I was able to make more regular-sized pancakes.”

Pippen-Price remembers exactly the day when her grandmother took her for a walk after realizing her interest in cooking.

 “A few houses down lived an older lady who had an apple tree in her backyard,” Pippen-Price said. “She taught me how to wash, peel and cut the apples. She seasoned them with some spices and cooked them down in a pot. We then mashed them up and cooled them to make the best apple sauce I’ve ever had.”

This was where inspiration struck for the future chef. 

Evidently, one of the most influential people in Pippen-Price’s life is her grandma, Velma Crow Good Voice, whom she used to call Ma. 

“I had spent many of my days with her before her passing in March of 2013,” said Pippen-Price. “Every morning during summer break I would rush to get ready so I could go to her house while my mom was at work. I would dash upstairs, tiptoe into her room, sit in her chair in the corner and fiddle with my fingers or read until she would wake up.”

Flash forward to today, Schoolcraft has also played a great role in helping Pippen-Price develop her passion for cooking and turning it into a profession.

“I remember my first class at Schoolcraft was Culinary 103 during a summer semester,” Pippen-Price said. “It was the first time that I had ever been in a state-of-the-art kitchen. I was in awe the entire time. From getting up bright and early, putting on my chef’s coat, and heading out with my toque and knives in hand- it was an invigorating experience.”

When she was introduced to Master Chef Shawn Loving, Pippen-Price was immediately inspired to be her best. The 2-week course built upon her knowledge and led to her being a more competent chef.

“My stress- management, time-management, and mental stamina were tested. It was thrilling and one of the most memorable things I’ve done yet. Schoolcraft offered me quite the electrifying introduction into my field and for that I am grateful.”

After graduating with her Culinary Arts degree, Pippen-Price has bright plans for her future.

“My three major goals include traveling to different countries and becoming a volunteer chef for organizations like World Central Kitchen (WCK). WCK provides food for cities and small villages that are affected negatively by things like war, poverty, and natural disaster. “Next on my list would be to get a food truck up and running.

Pippen-Price also plans to organize a non-profit for the homeless and less fortunate in Detroit. With an emphasis on opportunities such as jobs, educational support, and housing for impoverished youths, adults and anyone else who needs a foot-up or a point in the right direction. 

“My advice to anyone getting ready to make some changes in their everyday life, like deciding on a college or career path, would be to take your time,” said Pippen-Price. Find people close to you who inspire you to keep moving forward. Whether that is a family member, your best friend, favorite movie, or book character. Break down your plans into small parts if you start to feel defeated or overburdened. Lastly, don’t doubt yourself.”

The words of Pippen-Price’s grandma have bolstered the culinary student throughout her time at Schoolcraft. Through the teachings of this role model, the chef has learned that getting older does mean her potential must be limited. It is because of this that she always tries her best and reaches for the stars.