As a young child, I was surrounded by a family of great cooks. Throughout my school years, I would always prepare class projects using food anytime possible. I also enjoyed school and had a young dream to become a kindergarten teacher. This was inspired, I believe, by having great teachers throughout my younger years. Upon entering middle school, I participated in every event possible that involved food. I was never into sports, but one day I stumbled upon the concession stand featured food prepared by our local foods and occupational classes, overseen by two very inspiring teachers whom I had yet to get to know: Patricia Werth and Mickey Todd. Over the next few years, I became eligible to take Mrs. Werth’s Food Service class and I jumped on the opportunity to learn all that I could about the foodservice industry. With her support and guidance, along with the support of my family, I continued to study foods and entered a recipe contest that was in its second year from Johnson and Wales University. I had never heard of the school, but Mrs. Werth assured me it was a great one!

After much work on recipes, with again the guidance of my family and teacher, I created and submitted a recipe into the contest. Much to my surprise, I became one of the top 10 finalists and was off to Rhode Island for the live competition. I later won 1st runner-up for this event and landed a scholarship to JWU. The rest is history! I continued to learn foods and enjoy education. At this point I had transformed my dream of teaching kindergarten to teaching culinary arts.

In 1994, I completed my culinary arts degree at JWU and began working in catering and participating in all of the events I could be a part of within the university and community, gaining experience and knowledge of the industry.


Now 29 years after entering into the industry, I have continued to grow my passion for Culinary Arts and Education. I taught Culinary Arts at Lee County High School for 12 years then entered the college level of instruction in 2011 with Central Carolina Community College. I am now the Executive Director of the Central Carolina Culinary Institute at Central Carolina Community College and the Owner/Executive Chef of Chef Hamm, Inc., which includes Cafe 121, Libations 317, and Libations 139. These educational programs and restaurants allow me the opportunity to continually grow within the industry and to help inspire others who are passionate for the Culinary and Hospitality Industry.


I hope you enjoy your visit to, and I look forward to sharing my stories and culinary experiences with you soon.