June 6, 2024

Hinds CC Culinary Student Selected for National Competition

Chef Kerwin Pleasant reaches the second round of "Carla P. Hall Presents: Favorite Chef Cooking Competition." Voting closes Thursday, June 6.
BY: Nathan Moore

Photography: BRAD SMITH

JACKSON—Kerwin Pleasant is a non-traditional, and apparently exceptional, culinary arts student at Hinds Community College’s Jackson Campus and he is on his way to a national competition with famed Chef Carla P. Hall.

Pleasant, a Jackson resident, was selected for “Carla P. Hall Presents: Favorite Chef Cooking Competition.” Hall first became a household name on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Then she co-hosted ABC’s Emmy Award winning show, “The Chew.” Today she’s busy publishing books and making TV appearances.

Pleasant may just be the next big thing, too. He has made it to the second round of voting for the Favorite Chef Competition. Voting for the second round closes Thursday, June 6. If Pleasant makes it to the third round he will have to survive several more rounds of voting to make it to No. 1. If he wins the competition, an annual contest by the magazine, “Taste of Home,” he will receive $25,000, he will get an exclusive cooking session with Chef Hall and he will appear on the cover of “Taste of Home.”

Portrait of Chef Kerwin Pleasant

At 34, Pleasant will graduate from Hinds in December 2024 and start a new chapter in his life. Before culinary school he was helping run a bounce house business, which is where Pleasant realized his love for cooking – he cooked for events and birthday parties.

“I loved it, so I decided to turn it into a career,” Pleasant said. He is feeling blessed to already be working in his field at Corporate Chefs of Jackson. He has a vision for his future. He strives for his personal goals and keeps a positive attitude. Pleasant said he’s gotten into the habit of speaking aloud his dreams and doing it with intention.

“You know, they say if you speak it, you can make it so. I want to open my own restaurant and have a food truck – So, when I win the competition, I plan to use the money to start one of those businesses ¬– whichever is more feasible at the time,” Pleasant said.

Pleasant has excelled as a student. He was recently inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, M2M Minority Male Leadership group and the Student Government Association. And he seems genuinely surprised and humbled by the new truth in his life: That college is where he excelled.

“I made OK grades in high school. But in college? This is something I am looking at doing for the rest of my life, so I’ve put a lot of passion into it because I am certain this is something that will help me excel later on,” Pleasant said.

Chef Pleasant recently spoke with Hinds’ social media manager Malcolm Morrow about attending Hinds Community College.

About Hinds Community College

Hinds offers affordable, comprehensive educational opportunities across six campus locations and has nearly 500 academic classes guaranteed to transfer to a university, over 65 career and technical program options and an extensive array of online courses. Applications for general admissions are currently being accepted. Prospective students are encouraged to apply and explore enrollment steps at hindscc.edu/enroll.

Our Mission: Hinds Community College is committed to moving people and communities forward by helping develop their purpose, passion and profession. 

Our Vision: Hinds Community College will be a catalyst to create a competitive economy and a compelling culture for Mississippi. 

Our Values: Hinds Community College aspires to the following IDEALSIntegrity, Diversity, Excellence, Accountability, Leadership, Stewardship.

To learn more, visit hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.