Heather Tripple is a proud Tidewater Community College alumna. She got her start in the TCC kitchens under the tutelage of Chef Deanna “Dee” Freridge. She is now the head chef at The Stock Pot in Virginia Beach.
Heather earned her Culinary Arts degree in 2014. She remembers the long days of school and work that got her where she is now.
“I had a dream of having that degree and holding that diploma in my hands. I’m the first in my family to go to college and that makes my parents proud,” she said. “Also, I proved to myself that I could do it. Today I’ve found my niche and I’m able to get creative with the food I bring to the table.”
While at TCC, Heather worked full-time and rode the bus from Virginia Beach to the Norfolk Campus. She was inspired to pursue a career in the culinary arts after participating in a cooking competition at Cox High School.
“I grew up cooking alongside my mom and grandmother, who both come from southern backgrounds. They both instilled a passion in me for creating delicious dishes at an early age,” she said.
One of Heather’s favorite things about the Culinary Arts program was the hands-on learning that happened from day one. “TCC prepared me the best way possible. I learned the fundamentals, knife skills and also gained knowledge of foods and cultures.”
Heather continued, “Some of the classes provided a firm foundation for my position today including Food Costing and Recipe and Menu Management. I use that knowledge daily as I create seasonal menus for our guests.”
Heather also credits Chef Dee with helping her get started in the field. “I had my degree but lacked experience. Chef connected me with the manager at Mannino’s Italian Bistro and my career began,” she said. “That job pushed me and taught me a whole lot. Today, I’m in a position to do the teaching and I have some new hires from TCC. It’s rewarding to come full circle and now get to pour into employees just getting started.”