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We Are Dallas College: Frida Hutchinson

Last updated on September 7, 2023

Tell us about your journey as a DACA student who is working full time. 

I found myself yearning for a change from my current job. I asked myself “What do you really want to do?” and I realized I loved cooking, and I’m good at it. It’s where creativity and hands-on work shine, and you don’t have to be sitting down at a desk all day. So, I chose to follow my talent and passion. Since day one, it’s been great. I started culinary school at Dallas College last August. I’m working full time right now and I’d love to have completed my degree by 2026. That’s my goal.

Has your love for culinary arts always been a part of you? 

Yes. When I was young, my parents ran a food business in Mexico, preparing dishes like birria tacos, which — to this day — are my favorite thing to cook. In middle school, I spent time helping them sell food. I gained skills and love for cooking from watching my mom cook for us every day. In high school, I presented a speech about my future career, which focused on culinary arts. Though I veered off that path initially, the passion never left me. 

How did your upbringing affect your passion for food?

Seeing my parents in Mexico do everything from scratch. They’d process a whole goat, butcher it, clean it, store it. Go out and pick all of the fruits and vegetables, and seeing what it takes to run a food establishment made me realize it’s a lot of work. Yet, they truly loved what they were doing. I want to do that with my life. I want to enjoy my craft and be able to provide for my family with it. Creating things from scratch is inspiring for me. Putting that extra work in is something I want to do.

Do you want to have your own food business?

Yes, that’s my goal. In my own experience, Texas is lacking when it comes to authentic Southern Mexican food. Usually what you see here is Northern Mexican or Tex-Mex. I want to showcase my food, which comes from Southern Mexico. We use corn tortillas, spicier sauces, etc. There’s other good stuff out there and I want to show that.

Tell us about your fitness journey and how you overcame your health struggles. 

I used to be obese. So, I made a change to feel better and healthier overall. I got sick with lymphoma when I was 21, and that led me to explore how we consume carcinogens in the things we choose to eat. When I was getting chemo and seeing others, young and old, suffer from cancer, that experience compelled me to prioritize health. I learned about the harmful elements in our diets and became committed to avoiding them by making food from scratch.

What makes you proud to be Hispanic?

Growing up in Mexico and seeing my parents work tirelessly in their food business shaped my work ethic. In Mexico where I lived, people would have to work harder, especially physically. For example, there aren’t places you can just go to apply for a job, like at QT or a department store. You’re going to have to provide a service or sell something on your own, and that’s how you’ll make your money. Hispanic heritage embodies a strong work ethic and determination to succeed. My heritage makes me a hard worker, and I’m proud of that. 

Is there someone at Dallas College who has left a lasting impression on you? 

Chef Patrick Stark has been an incredible influence. He’s an awesome professor. His patience, motivation, and genuine care for his students make him a role model and mentor. 

Looking ahead to graduation, what will it mean to your family? 

My mom will be very proud. We are immigrants, so seeing other people go to college and graduate seemed so unreachable for us. For her, there was a language barrier, and she couldn’t really look into schools. I’ll be able to show her that it can be done. Graduating will be a testament to hard work and perseverance, not just for me, but for my family.

Do you have any words for other potential DACA students?

Getting your education will open so many new doors because knowledge is power. Even if you need to take less classes to learn the material slowly, do it right. Don’t rush, it will get done. It just takes time and determination.

What will be your legacy? 

I aim to be remembered as a strong, positive person who’s not afraid to do hard work to get things done. She overcame challenges to pursue her dreams despite the obstacles. Finishing school will be a huge accomplishment because school has always been challenging for me. I tried going to school when I was 20, but it was very overwhelming. Coming back later in life was a big obstacle to overcome. 

What is a quote/motto that you live by? 

“Do it afraid.” This is currently my motto because I’m naturally a very timid person who struggles with social anxiety, and I choose to overcome my fears daily. There’s an amazing adrenaline rush when you do something you’re afraid of then realize that it wasn’t scary to begin with. You realize that you are much stronger and more capable than you think. Overcoming these fears makes me feel invincible. 

This story and others like it can be found in the Student Newsletter. Check your Dallas College email to see the latest edition.

Published inWhy Dallas College?