New Teacher Spotlight: Khadijah “Chef” Muhammad Kebe


Culinary Teacher Khadijah Muhammad Kebe, better known to her students as “Chef”, poses for a photo outside of her classroom in G-hall. Chef joined the WTHS staff at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Kelly Wei '21, News Editor

As a new addition to the Washington Township staff, new culinary teacher, Khadijah Muhammad Kebe, or “Chef” as she prefers to be addressed, is enjoying her first year in the district. Although it is her first year at WTHS, this year is the beginning of Chef’s fourth year in professional teaching. The nickname “Chef” sprouted as she did not want her name to be messed up, but also, in the culinary industry, each professional is addressed as “Chef”.

Before her time at WTHS began, Chef spent many years working in the culinary industry. Starting at a high end boutique store, Sur La Table, Chef taught in the retail store’s cooking classes. In addition to this, she was also a Camp Director with Camp MasterChef in California. These camps taught kids from ages eight to sixteen who wanted to learn how to cook. Chef was able to meet junior chef celebrities as well as adult chef celebrities.

This wasn’t always the career path she saw herself taking. Growing up, Chef wanted to be a zoologist and forensic scientist. “I’m too scared of roaches and rats…but I would stand next to a lion any day and run from a rat any day,” she said.

Chef found that she did not find death, blood, or gore appealing, even though at one point in her life watching True Crime Daily was one of her favorite pastimes. But this changed in college when Chef went to school for business. “I went to school for business because I did not know what to do with my life,” she stated.

Chef was encouraged to go back to school by her co-workers in Rhode Island at Johnson and Wales University. She earned her degrees in baking and pastries, culinary, and business management. During her culinary career, Chef was able to meet various famous figures such as Oprah Winfrey and legendary cookery icon, Jacques Pepin.

Besides working at a few summer camps and Sur La Table, Chef has worked in two previous school districts and has found that Washington Township is somewhere is a place where she wants to stay. “I really can see myself long-term…and I feel like there’s a lot of school spirit that I can appreciate that I have never seen with other school districts,” Chef comments.

Moreover, Chef’s highlight of her day is her students. She truly appreciates the dedication she receives from her students as she puts a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the work. She also finds teaching high school students easier than teaching adults, which is what she did in a former job. “You can say, ‘hey, behave this way’ versus to an adult, you can’t say, ‘hey, behave this way.’”

Chef aims to grow and hopes to be in a position where she could be in a supervisory role, supporting teachers with questions they have about curriculum, helping new teachers become highly effective, etc. On the other hand, another career that Chef could see herself embracing besides being a teacher would be a career counselor. “I think a lot of times, students do not have that person to help them know what they want to do. Then they would be like me who did not know what they wanted to do and get this education with loans that would end up being a waste of money.”

For students, Chef advises those who don’t have a lot of scholarship money or financial support to avoid taking enormous loans. “It’s okay to go to a community college and take your core classes before transferring to a four year college to attain your bachelor’s degree,” Chef stresses.

Chef also emphasizes that going to a community college does not take away the college experience but rather it helps students save money. She also makes a point to say that for recent college graduates, student loans are a big stressor in their life and that future students should steer clear of debt.