I recently had a chance to have a conversation with Stanley Waddell, a young gentleman with a goal of becoming a chef. Often we would speak and I’d ask him to say “Hi” to his mother for me.
At times Stanley would talk of food and how he loves cooking, so I asked him, "Have you ever thought of writing a cookbook?” Stanley replied it was something to think about since he was familiar with such a variety of dishes from Louisiana, North Carolina and different countries.
So I asked, “How long have you been cooking?” He said since the age of 12. He learned from his grandmother who taught for 25 years in schools in North Carolina.
He said his goals are to strive to be one of the best, to be inventive as a chef, and to remember “the first impression is the best impression.” He believes no one should prepare or serve food to anyone that he or she wouldn't eat.
And his favorite dish? Baked or grilled stuffed pork chop with broccoli and cheese over long grain brown rice.
As a vegetarian, I had to ask Stanley what was his view on vegetarian dishes. He said there's so many people becoming vegetarians, he favors a dish with broccoli, carrots, celery over white rice with a special sauce.
He’s a cook at The Royal Restaurant located 734 North Saint Asaph St. It’s all teamwork, he said, working together, preparing entrees, the special of the day, etc.
He once helped cater an event years ago for former City Councilwoman Alicia Hughes when she was running for election and had a chance to meet her mother.
Beyond cooking, he also loves the arts, softball, baseball, bowling and listening to music, jazz, R&B and gospel music.
Geri Baldwin is a community activist living in Alexandria.