Verbatim: Tawni Borden Andrews

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Article via the Sequim Gazette
By Matthew Nash

Tawni (Borden) Andrews, 48, said she didn’t anticipate becoming a chef but after serving behind a desk for years she felt it was time to spice up her life.

Andrews moved to Sequim as a teenager with her family after her father Joe Borden retired from the US Army. She went on to graduate from Sequim High School in 1988 and has lived in Aberdeen for the past 20 years. She has five children (three step-children), volunteers for a local search and rescue team, participates in art walks and is serving her second term as a city councilor for the City of Aberdeen. Andrews has served as president of the council for three years and now seeks to become mayor in the General Election this November.

For her career, Andrews said she “fell into accounting” but wasn’t passionate about it, so she began taking classes through South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. After about a year, she began pursuing culinary arts.

Additionally, Borden said she was diagnosed as a Type-2 diabetic a few years ago. Thanks to lifestyle changes, including changing recipes to make them healthier, she isn’t any longer.

Becoming a chef/cook was different from accounting, she said, but it felt right. In July, she begins working as a cook for the Washington State Patrol Academy in Shelton.

Earlier this month, she finished her Associate’s in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts, and hopes to begin her Bachelor’s degree online this summer in Business Administration through Western Governors University. On June 15, she was honored to speak for the Class of 2019 as the class speaker.

Here’s her speech:

“Graduates close your eyes and take a deep breath … and release. How long has it been since you have been able to do that? Just Breathe.

Today, we celebrate the end of one journey and the beginning of many more to come. For me, it’s receiving my Associates in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts, and I’d like to share a little bit of my story as a returning student to college. After 25 years of working behind a desk as a bookkeeper I made the decision to leave that behind and embark on a new career. I remember a sign above my desk that read, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.’

I had a dream. It was big. It scared me. I did it anyway.

I had a passion for cooking that I needed to follow.

I enjoy being able to put love visibly on a plate. As a wife and mother, I had been a home cook for years, but today, I stand before you as a professional chef with a degree that gives me possibilities that are global.

When I enrolled, I was scared I’d be the old woman on campus. I was worried about the money. How would I balance working full-time while going to school? I was worried that I had waited too long, that I should have gone to college sooner. But I’m glad I didn’t. I wasn’t ready before. I didn’t know what I wanted to do to give me that motivation to go for it. I started by taking my prerequisites online while working full-time. Then I had to make the jump to a full-time student and was pleased to find that I was welcomed on campus and there was a wide-range of students following their passion too. I applied for scholarships, received two, took the jump. And here I am!

In a restaurant you can create the ultimate experience for your guest through what you put on the plate in front of them — the plating, the colors, the smells and then the taste. It all creates that memory that your guests take with them after they leave. In retrospect, my experience at South Puget Sound was much the same.

Each ingredient plays an important role in a dish’s flavor profile, if you remove one, you change the entire dish. In the same way, adding different ingredients can transform your dish into something completely different. That’s how I feel about our campus and my experience as a student. Without my instructors and fellow classmates my dish might have been completely different. Everyone at SPSCC added to my journey; added to my recipe. As you sit here today, think about the people that added to your recipe for success. And keep adding to your recipe! Try something new, you never know, that could be the key to make something bland SING!

Be as adventurous with your decisions as I am with my cooking. Reach out for those seemingly impossible goals that make your lives uniquely yours. Your journey isn’t the same as my journey, or her journey, or his journey — add those spices or that sweetness that’s yours.

One of the best things I heard when I started was, ‘A recipe is only a guide.’ I try to put my mark on every dish I make.

Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t – if it doesn’t just don’t make it like that again or throw out the recipe all together.

A new recipe. A new career. A new path.

I have such a supportive family (with) my husband, kids, parents (and) friends all cheering me on constantly and always willing to be my guinea pigs. Your support system adds to your recipe. The support at home. The people on this stage. Everyone in the audience. Yourself.

Standing here today graduating with the Class of 2019, I’m proud of what we have achieved. We have created our recipe. Now go out there and share your signature dish with the world. Thank you.”

Tawni Andrews wearing the traditional blue graduation cap and gown as she gives her speech