Russ Hamilton has always enjoyed cooking. Now, he can do so with the title “chef” in front of his name.
“I’ve always liked cooking outside on the grill,” said the North Augusta resident. “It’s always been a hobby for me.”
Hamilton is a member of the first class that recently completed the culinary program at Helms College Augusta campus, which is operated by Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. He applied to the program last year after entering a chili competition in which he came in second place. It was the first cooking competition he had ever entered, he said.
During the program, he expanded his knowledge of culinary arts and his interest in barbecue continued to grow, he said.
“I didn’t realize all that I could do with it,” he said. “It’s not just throwing something on the grill. It’s so much more. There are many possibilities.”
His dream is to go into the catering business and eventually open his own restaurant.
“I’ll drive by a building and think ‘that’s it, that’s where I’m going to be,’” he said.
He said he’s looking forward to sharing his passion with family and friends. He will cook barbecue for his church, Grace Fellowship, during the church’s anniversary cookout on Saturday.
“I’m excited about that,” he said.
He is also excited about what the future holds and one day, being able to give back, he added.
“I’m looking forward to one day going back to Helms College and being able to hire some of the students in my restaurant,” he said. “I want to go back one day and help the school as much as they’ve helped me.”