Dakota Holderness

Dakota Holderness’ culinary career is cooking thanks to the Certificate Advancement Program at Iowa Western Community College.

Holderness, 17, is a Council Bluffs native and a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School. He attended Gunn Elementary School before it closed and later attended Roosevelt Elementary School. He attended both Wilson and Kirn middle schools before arriving at A.L. three years ago.

Holderness is part of the Certificate Advancement Program, which allows Council Bluffs Schools juniors and seniors a chance to work toward college credit and certification in various career fields. He is currently enrolled in Iowa Western’s Restaurant and Hospitality Management Program.

Holderness said he’s been in love with food and cooking since he was a child, and he’s dreamed of working in the culinary arts field for as long as he can remember.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to cook,” he said. “I used to grill a lot and help my mom in the kitchen.”

He said he works well around a grill and loves smoking and charring whatever meat he can get his hands on. He said he is excited to start learning invaluable kitchen techniques that will help him grow as a chef.

Holderness said he plans on attending Iowa Western next fall to continue his culinary studies. He said his dream is to work as a chef and, someday, open his own restaurant. He said he isn’t sure if he will continue on to a four-year university after Iowa Western or jump “straight into the business.”

What he does know is that he is excited to have a head start on college and is ready to further his skills and education.

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