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Seven years ago Juan Obando Jimenez moved to Prince George’s County with a lifelong dream to become a chef. Jimenez comes from a family where everyone cooks, and because of that, he learned about cooking at a young age. His fondest memories involve his mother, who is the most influential cook from his childhood.

“I remember my mom would make me chicken soup and how special it would make me feel,” recalled Jimenez on his childhood growing up in Costa Rica.

It’s those memories that left a lasting impression on Jimenez and strengthened his passion to “enhance memories with flavors.” He explained, “It’s those moments, like your birthday, or having a special dish that you crave, that people remember most.”

When he arrived in Prince George’s County, he met other chefs who told him to take the path of pursuing a degree in culinary arts at a community college if he was seriously interested in culinary. He took their advice and is set to graduate this May from the culinary arts program at Prince George’s Community College (PGCC).

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