Friday, August 12, 2016

Gore Man Aims for Career as Chef

Cherokee Nation citizen Blakelee Lehnick of Gore recently started the advanced culinary arts program at Treasure Island Job Corps in San Francisco.

Lehnick worked in the food service industry for about four years before entering the culinary arts program at Talking Leaves Job Corps in Tahlequah, which he completed in July.

Lehnick hopes to be an executive chef some day.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me through the Job Corps program,” Lehnick said. “Not only has Talking Leaves Job Corps given me the skills necessary to advance in culinary arts, but also the knowledge of how to live independently as well as the confidence to dream big. I cannot wait to complete this next chapter of my life at Treasure Island Job Corps and be one step closer to a full time career in what I love doing.”

The advanced culinary arts program lasts about 14 months and includes completing courses in food and beverage, pantry chef, casual dining, baking, advanced pastry and fine dining.

To be accepted into the program, Lehnick had to have a GED or high school diploma, recommendations from instructors and staff, completed a basic culinary career technical training program and a good disciplinary record.

“We could not be prouder of Blakelee and his accomplishments,” said Jay Littlejohn, Talking Leaves Job Corps Center Director. “This is a perfect example of how the Job Corps program is a stepping stone to launching careers for today’s young adults. Blakelee was a great student representative of Talking Leaves and will continue to be an exceptional advocate for Job Corps.”

For more information about Talking Leaves Job Corps, visit

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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