Molly Kelly’s family has been in the catering business for generations. Her grandparents started Knights Catering, and now her mom runs it. “Everyone that worked there was like family; they were the people that came over for Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Molly attended client meetings with her mom and waitressed at parties on weekends, but she never seriously considered getting into the family business. After high school, Molly attended Fresno State University majoring in theater, and then she moved to New York to pursue an acting career. But, after a few years, she wanted to come home. “I didn’t really want to get into the acting scene in San Francisco, but I still wanted to do something creative.”
What Brought Molly to CCSF
Moving back to the Bay Area, Molly saw the family business in a new light. She saw the creativity and passion in culinary arts and realized she had never actually learned to cook. “I cooked a little bit ... helped my mom brine a turkey for Thanksgiving, stuff like that. I was never a hands-on chef. I definitely never baked; the extent of my baking was one of those boxes that you just add eggs and water.” Molly’s mother and her grandmother had come through the culinary arts management program at CCSF, and it seemed like the perfect way to get back into the swing of doing something creative and doing something right for her.
Molly's CCSF Experience
At CCSF, Molly’s interest in culinary arts has grown and evolved. “We have chefs from so many different walks of life; we’re really lucky.” Each chef has their own personal style and flair. “Once they see what your interests are, they hone in, kind of guiding and pushing you in the right direction.” From the start, the chefs shared extra catering-related tips with Molly, but they also encouraged her in another area. “I’ve found a love of baking and pastry. It’s something my mom’s company doesn’t have, so it’s interesting to collaborate on something different. We’re teaching each other new tricks.” The chefs at CCSF know where Molly comes from, but they also understand her passions as an individual and want her to be happy as well.
Why CCSF Was a Good Choice for Molly
Molly likes that the CCSF program is a hands-on experience. “When we start a new semester, we only have two days before we’re open for business.” Culinary students prepare food for the whole campus. “That’s really the best way to get experience, to be just thrown into the fire and have no choice other than to succeed.” She’s excited about keeping the family business going, maybe even running it one day. Yet, she also wants to start something new. In a few years, she hopes to open a bakery. Molly and her mom now can look forward to building something together.