Pushing forward to reach the big spot

By Nishun Stone
YO:Durham Intern
the Durham Voice


Love is the heart of the kitchen.

For me, becoming a chef is more than a dream. On both sides of my family, my mother and father, there are great cooks. Growing up around food, cooking became more than second nature to me.

VOICE food writer Nishuan Stone (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)

It became LIFE.

If you really love something you will do it for free, but I found that there are different types of love throughout the kitchen. The biggest and most important love is tough love. This is the type of tough love that makes you mad every day but forces you to get so much accomplished.

Working with Northern High School Culinary Arts teacher Andrew Somers made me realize a more than any teacher before.

When I asked him why he became a chef and how he started to begin his journey to becoming a chef, he said, “It was a second nature, and I needed money growing up because I had a rough childhood until I got out of high school.”

His definition of tough love is “making people responsible for their own actions” and an expression used when “someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run.”

Tough love, to me, is using strict disciplinary measures and limitations on freedoms or privileges. It means fostering responsibility and expressing concern. It also helps people overcome problems so they can solve future challenges.

There is much for me to learn and do before I can become an entrepreneur – my dream of being head chef in my own restaurant. I know I need to work hard and push forward because I can achieve more with a positive and an entrepreneurial mind than without.

With these skills you have to look at the big picture in front of you and refuse to let situations get you down.

As a young entrepreneur, I am willing to work long hours, watch my spending and sacrifice my social life to focus on building my clientele.

Even when times are tough I tend to remain positive and look at my glass as half full rather than half empty.

I will push forward until I’m my own boss and open up my own restaurant.

For example, one of my favorite dishes to make is cheesecake. It’s my favorite because it’s one of the best desserts that I ate when visiting my grandmother who used to make deserts every time I came over.

This cheesecake is delectable even if you use a crust other than graham crackers. I suggest vanilla wafers for the best preparation.



15 graham crackers, or 1 ½ cup of vanilla wafers, crushed

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3/4 cup milk

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour


  • Using a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of spring form pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk. Mix eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
    • Bake cheesecake in preheated oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking.
    • Chill in refrigerator until serving.