Tiffany Jhingory heard about C-CAP from Jonene Ford, a teacher at Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland. She and Tiffany’s father encouraged her to attend C-CAP, even though getting home from the classes was going to be difficult. Her father said: “You’re going to go; we’ll make sure you get home.” Since Tiffany’s parents worked full-time, Ms. Ford drove her home after each C-CAP practice. Tiffany is the daughter of first-generation immigrants; her parents moved from Guyana in South America and met in the United States in their twenties. “They are a big inspiration in my life,” she says.
“C-CAP taught me perseverance; it completely transformed me,” says Tiffany. Her father brought home ten-pound bags of potatoes, which they practiced peeling and tournéeing for hours together. It was an honor and rewarding experience for her to compete, and she placed first in the 2011 D.C. Area senior competition. She then attended Johnson & Wales North Miami. Her C-CAP scholarship made a big difference, allowing her to focus on her studies and not miss classes, as some other students did, because they had late tuition payments.
Tiffany is grateful to C-CAP’s D.C. Program Coordinator Yvettte Williams and husband Chef Troy, for helping her get her start in D.C. after moving back from Miami after graduation. She became a greeter at Kith and Kin, whose owner Kwame Onwuachi is the recipient of a 2019 James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef award. She has seen increased traffic since the award was announced. “So many people want a reservation,” she says, “which can be a challenge for a 28-table establishment.” It’s easy to see why: the jerk chicken, served with tamarind jam and jerk BBQ sauce, among the other menu items, are all made from scratch, including the seasonings; the meats are even smoked in-house.
While not working in the kitchen now, Tiffany is a vital part of the team. Her interaction with guests at the front of the house is important to making them happy about their experience. As she says: “It may be raining, or they have had a bad day.” She knows that her warm welcome can change their whole attitude and the perception of their dining experience to follow.
Tiffany will hone her front-of-house management skills now and go into the kitchen when the time is right.