Alumni Stories

Keight Dawa

Baking & Pastry

Lead Pastry Cook at Centerplate
The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University

Alumni Keight Dawa

My education embedded the necessity to master the basics and work cleanly in the kitchen. Keight Dawa , Lead Pastry Cook at Centerplate Associate of Science in Baking & Pastry, 2015 , The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University

Keight Dawa is the lead pastry cook at Centerplate at Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. She is responsible for checking banquet event orders for the week, and works on production baking of cheesecakes, brownies, cupcakes, and other specialty pastries. Keight also delivers dessert orders to clubs or locations within Levi’s Stadium and cleans up the pastry department kitchen.

She says that culinary arts is a demanding industry that requires focus. “When the going gets tough, keep your head down and focus on your work. Do not panic, get angry, or give up. You will truly never know yourself and your abilities until you have been tested by adversity.”

Keight adds that she faced a particularly difficult challenge when she was working a vineyard wedding in a remote location with limited cell phone service. The temperature was over 100 degrees and the location did not have onsite potable water. “Two of the cooks did not show up and the caterer almost fainted from heat exhaustion. I was hired to be part of front of house, but I jumped into helping the cooks finish appetizers and finish the entrees. By keeping a cool head and focusing on the work, we overcame the obstacle of being short staffed. The wedding guests did not know we were short staffed and enjoyed the festivities.”

Her ability to work as a team player has helped her to make an impact. She says that her team appreciates that she’s willing to do whatever is necessary to meet deadlines. “In the off season, we brainstorm and test recipes that might make it into the next season's dessert menu.” She’s excited to note that her hard work paid off in a recent promotion to the position of lead pastry cook.

Keight, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Baking & Pastry from The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that her education prepared her for the challenging culinary world and that it instilled the need to keep a kitchen clean and functional. She adds that she hopes to become an accomplished pastry chef within the high volume production industry. “I am challenged to find the balance between creating high quality desserts while fulfilling the high volume demand of stadium events.”

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