Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - 98
The Chopping Block
The Chopping Block provides a positive outlet for its chefs as well as its students.
By Jim Harris
The Chopping Block
Specialty: Cooking classes and events
Shelley Young, owner/chef: "We
offer a great environment for social
>> The Chopping Block is one of the busiest recreational cooking schools in the country, with 350 classes and events each month.
helley Young founded The
Chopping Block with a greater purpose in mind than just
becoming her own boss.
"The impetus around it was related to
what I was seeing in the industry at
large," she says. "It wasn't so much a
passion to create The Chopping Block
per se as much as it was to create an
environment where people can thrive.
"When I looked at the service in-
food & drink international * fall 2017 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com
dustry, in particular foodservice, I noticed people were not treating it as a
career," Young adds. "In Europe, being in the service industry is thought
of as a career, but in the United States,
it's thought of as something you just
do during college, and I didn't understand that. I wanted to know why that
is, and found out that people feel that
there's no opportunity to grow, no job
security and they're unable to express
the things they feel they can contribute to their employers."
Giving her employees a career path
and allowing them to grow through
enrichment programs has been a focus of Young's since she started the
company in Chicago in 1997. Prior to
this, Young had worked in the culinary
industry for 17 years. She moved to
Chicago from San Diego after taking a
job as a private chef; shortly after relocating, she also took a job as a chef
in a French restaurant.
While still working in both of those
positions, Young started The Chopping Block as a small antique cookware shop and cooking school. Today, the business has retail spaces in
two locations and is one of the busiest
recreational cooking schools in the
country, as it offers roughly 350 recreational cooking classes and private
events each month. "We do as many
classes in one month as most schools
do in a year," Young says.
'Igniting a Spark'
Each location of The Chopping
Block has three kitchens to accommodate students. The company is
in the processes of remodeling the