Miller Grove Senior Au’Niyah Bell Cooks Alongside Master Chef at Fundraising Dinner

By Carla Parker

On Oct. 17, Miller Grove High School senior Au’Niyah Bell had the opportunity to assist in preparing meals for some of DeKalb County’s elite at a fundraising dinner at Shular Institute in Tucker.

Bell, a student in Miller Grove’s Culinary Arts Program, was selected by her culinary instructor, Chef Keio Gayden, and the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia (HEFG) to participate in the dinner. She worked alongside American Culinary Federation (ACF) certified master chef Daryl Shular as they prepared a four-course meal for the dinner.

Bell said cooking alongside Chef Shular was exciting.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I felt honored to be a part of something that big. I was a bit nervous, but once I walked in, one of the chefs greeted me with hugs and was reassuring as I kept working,” Bell added. “Chef Shular told me to calm down and make it a fun experience and everything would be ok.”

Bell, who has a 3.9 grade point average, has been in Miller Grove’s Culinary Arts Program since her sophomore year. She has been working with Chef Gayden for four years. Gayden said Bell has worked with her at many events in and outside of the classroom.

“She has proven herself to be a leader, a professional, trustworthy and has a passion for perfecting her craft,” Gayden said. “Chef Shular and his staff stated she was attentive and followed instruction given to ensure a successful event.”

Bell said her parents taught her how to cook.

“My dad always encouraged us to try new stuff and not the basic foods that we’d eat everyday—news ways to cook meals, healthier ways to cook meals,” Bell said. “We had a garden and he always made sure we were trying new [meals] and not stuck in a box.”

Bell said she enjoys seeing people come together to eat and how their attitudes change when they’re no longer hungry.

“When you’re hungry at school you can’t focus,” Bell said. “Hunger affects a lot of things and people don’t realize it. A small meal can go a long way for anybody.”

Her favorite meals to cook are spaghetti and nachos. “It’s simple and it’s easy, and I like how I can cook it in many different ways.”