By Juri Dagio | Staff Writer

Jose Zavala is a 62-year-old Culinary Arts student who was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. Originally from South America, Zavala and his mother moved to Hawai’i when he was a 1-year-old.

Three years ago, during Zavala’s work shift at the airport in Honolulu, he saw a flyer about KCC’s culinary apprenticeship program. It was an awakening for him as he has always been passionate of culinary arts.

“I’m in culinary all my life,” he said. “Main thing is, I’ve never received a proper education.”

At the age of 17, Zavala was already a culinary junior apprentice. He also had an experience working as a chef in Beverly Hills.

“I want to increase my value to my employer,” Zavala said. “I want to finish, get a degree, and now I’m almost there … four more classes to go.”

Despite his age of 62, having met the chefs and enjoyed the classes at KCC, Zavala decided to remain in school. He also works as the student assistant for the Kapi’olani Service and Sustainability Learning program (KSSLP). The program helps KCC students to engage with healthcare.