My GRCC Story: Brad Verberg leaves legal career to follow culinary dream

A Raider Buzz feature:

GRCC helped Brad Verberg navigate a new career path from the courtroom to the kitchen — with stops in countries around the globe along the way.

Verberg worked as an administrative assistant at a law firm for 12 years before deciding to follow his passion for cooking. He enrolled in the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, which provided him with plenty of opportunities to hone and test his skills. He assisted with the culinary medicine seminars that GRCC has developed in partnership with Spectrum Health, worked at banquets and catering jobs, and helped with daily tours of the culinary programs.

He also logged many miles — with culinary internships in France and Germany.

“Having this experience has opened so many doors!” he said. “I have developed and maintained great relationships during my college experience. Dr. Werner Apsenger, director of the culinary program, has pushed and promoted me with many opportunities. Chef Luba Pretrash is another important person on my journey. She’s pushed me to go above and beyond with my culinary skills, and menu preparations and event skills.”

Verberg received an Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences in Culinary Arts this past spring. In May, he started work at Ferris State University toward a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. He plans to continue working in catering at GRCC and at the business he started, Rising Flame Culinary.

The work and the risks that changing careers have entailed have been worth it, Verberg said.

“Don’t let your personal fear keep you from the experience you deserve and are entitled to,” he said.

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