William Knott likes working with food. So much in fact, the Anne Arundel Community College Hotel, Culinary Arts, and Tourism Institute grad has made it not only his career, but also a hobby.
He’s recently gotten into smoking and curing meats, honing in on the perfect temperature, wood and cut, taking cues from his training in higher education and from YouTube smokers who have their own channels and compete. “I have a smoker I built out of an old grill…It’s just something I like doing, taking my day off and smoking meat,” he said. “It’s definitely fun.”
On a usual workday, the morning kitchen supervisor at The Westin Annapolis comes in at 5:30 a.m., oversees breakfast and lunch, then leaves around 3 p.m., and is back at it all again the next day. He said the hours don’t seem early or long, since he enjoys the ease that comes from working with a kitchen full of others who have also been in the same culinary program. “Pretty much we’ve grown up together the whole time,” he said. “It’s been an easy transition to stay together as a team because you’re close enough you don’t have to guess how to do things together.”
Food isn’t a new interest for Knott. “I’ve always cooked,” he said. When young, he has fond memories of cooking with his family, helping his dad and grandma separate and cook crabs at their family house “out on the water.” After graduating high school, Knot was looking at four-year schools, but didn’t want to venture far from his Calvert County roots. “I looked around and found AACC,” he said. “I got my degree there and was happy with it.”
His training didn’t just teach technique and the business of food, but also the desire to keep learning. “I went out to the culinary world and had a base that was strong enough to overcome any obstacles I had,” he said. “Even if you’re out of school, just keep learning.”