Scholarships turned down for passion

Senior turns in shoulder pads for oven mitts

Alex Waschak ‘20 had the opportunity many athletes dream of: the chance to play Division 1 football. He had the chance of a lifetime.

At 6’8” tall and nearly 300 lbs., he towered above his opponents, and after eight years of practicing football, college scouts from all over the country told him he had what it takes to play on the next level.

“For the longest time, I thought I would go into football. The whole point was to do football in college,” he said. “I thought maybe I could go into the NFL.”

For some people, the pursuit of college football pushes them through all four years of high school. For Waschak, however, this wasn’t the case. 

He was offered full scholarship to multiple colleges. He turned them all down, and completely changed directions. 

Instead of pursuing a football career, he developed an interest in culinary arts. Constant football practices and intense training gave him inspiration to start cooking. He needed the fuel for his body. A passion for football turned into passion for cooking. 

After graduation, he hopes to attend Johnson and Wales, a university specializing in culinary education. After learning the basics at the university, he wants to gain real life experience doing what he loves: cooking. 

“I want to venture out into the world, and probably get an apprenticeship in France or Spain or Japan maybe,” he said. “What I would do in Japan is sushi. I would master that for 5 or 10 years. Overall, it’s just learning how to perfect it.”

Using his experience of working under professional chefs, he hopes to open a restaurant of his own, and bring his education of foreign cuisine back to America.

While he isn’t a professional chef yet, Waschak knows his way around a kitchen. Most importantly, he knows how to make food that brings people joy. 

“That’s what’s important, the taste,” he said. “If you aren’t having tasty food, then what’s the point? It sounds really basic, but just put love into your food. People can literally taste that, so if you can cook with happiness and joy, it definitely makes a difference.”