There’s someone new cooking in the kitchen in the food court this year that is teaching everyone to communicate in a different way.
Cigrid Fenwick was hired in August as a cook for the IUS Food Court, but she has brought something different to the kitchen too. She is deaf.
“[It’s] kind a little challenging because of communication, but I mostly enjoy here because of people and environment,” Fenwick said.
If she can’t lip read what her co-workers are trying to tell her they will write her notes or try to talk slower.
She is even teaching them sign language too.
“It’s not that difficult to communicate actually,” Sue Platt, Conference and Catering supervisor, said. “It’s fun sometimes and if you ever get frustrated you write a note.”
Lesley Stewart, Conference and Catering coordinator, had nothing to say but praise for what Fenwick has brought to the kitchen.
“She’s showed a lot of [her co-workers] their name in sign language,” Stewart said. “She’s knowledgeable in the kitchen too, which has freed me up to take care of other duties.”
Fenwick takes care of everything on the hotline in the food court.
She has previously worked in the kitchens at The Baptist Seminary of Theology, Cuba Libre and Walt Disney.
Fenwick enjoys working at IU Southeast because she said it reminds her of working at Walt Disney.
They both have the same type of environment and support people with disabilities, Fenwick said.
When Fenwick’s husband, who is also deaf, urged her to apply for a full time job at IUS dining services she thought she would never work in the kitchen any more.
“I truly was very tired of working in the kitchen with limits, but I knew I would like it here,” Fenwick said.
Originally Fenwick is from Puerto Rico, but now resides in New Albany, Ind., with her husband and two daughters.
Fenwick left Puerto Rico when she was 19 years old to attend college at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.
The Rochester Institute of Technology did not fit Fenwick’s goal so she transferred to The Culinary Institute of America in New York. She graduated from there in 2001 as a professional chef.
Away from work Fenwick enjoys reading non-fiction books and the Bible.
“As a mother I enjoy watching my two girls growing up and laughing with them,” Fenwick said. Her daughters are 13 and 2 years old.
Her family also attends Southeast Christian Church.
By MARY LYONS