Overcoming Challenges on the road to success
A Story about Lizzy Agneta
The road to success often starts with early accomplishments. Hard work and perseverance are part of the mix. FC Alum Lizzy Agneta completed a degree at Bunker Hill Community College and she worked at Highland Kitchen, where she stayed for eight years, receiving multiple promotions and ultimately landing the Sous Chef position at the age of just twenty-two. Today she is working in prepared foods at Wegman's with career plans for this growing industry.
Lizzy first learned about the Future Chefs program when she was a culinary student at Somerville High School. She was already passionate about becoming a chef, and knew that a program like Future Chefs could help her in her professional goals. What she didn’t know was that Future Chefs would also be there to support her during the ups and downs of her personal life. A self-described “difficult high school student,” Lizzy had to overcome challenges she faced in her teen years. Her mother died when she was only eleven, her father, addicted to opiates was absent from her life. "I was very angry, but all the love and support I got from Toni and everyone at Future Chefs really helped me become the strong person I am today," Lizzy explains.
Future Chefs was not only a place to lean on for Lizzy - it was pathway to school and jobs. Lizzy earned a books and materials scholarship to Bunker Hill Community College from Future Chefs and became a part of the Future Chefs success team there. She continued to excel and was connected to her first kitchen job working for Chef Mark Romano at Highland Kitchen. "When Lizzy first came to meet me, I had serious doubts about how this quiet kid that Toni sent to me would fit in and keep up in our busy, fast paced, mostly Spanish-speaking kitchen. She held her own right off the bat and came out of her shell, and we just kept giving her more challenges along the way. It wasn't always pretty, but she became one of our strongest line cooks and eventually Sous Chef. I used to joke around with her at the end - she’d be talkin’ smack and I'd say, Whatever happened to that quiet kid?" Chef Mark says, "Everybody at Highland Kitchen is proud of her and wishes her all the best in her career and life. She will always be family."
Lizzy's time at Highland Kitchen helped shape her career, having Chef Mark as an amazing mentor. His trust and respect for Lizzy gave her the confidence she needed to excel in her career. "Chef Mark is an extremely intelligent chef. Future Chefs connected me to him and it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me."
After her successful time at Highland Kitchen, Lizzy worked at East Coast Grill, Loyal Nine and is currently employed at Wegmans. She is enjoying working in the food service industry, and plans to build a successful career at Wegmans, including rising to Sous Chef, Store Chef and Executive Chef there. Owning her own restaurant is also a part of her long term goals.
Lizzy is grateful that Future Chefs came into her life when she needed extra support beyond home and school to get her through high school, college and landing her first culinary job. “They gave me the extra push I needed and helped me every step of the way and they never gave up on me. I have achieved so many of my goals and it is all because of the inspiration they gave me,” Lizzy says.“I practiced so many skills I needed to make it in this industry and learned to be a leader.”
Lizzy continues to be a part of our family. She is an inspiration to Future Chefs and all the young teens who follow her lead. Her advice to young chefs? "Work hard and learn everything you can!! You can never stop learning."