North High School Alum Eric Divis Demonstrates Culinary Skills for ProStart Students at North High School

Sioux City, Iowa - Eric Divis has never followed the saying “if you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Instead, Eric has done the opposite – focusing his livelihood on culinary arts.

The North High School alum is making culinary waves as the Banquet Chef at the Marriott in South Sioux City, Nebraska. It’s a role that has been a lifetime in the making.

His parents were both involved in the restaurant business when Eric was young. After spending hours in the kitchen, Eric discovered his love for culinary arts.

“Some of my earliest memories are in restaurants my dad has run,” says Eric. “I fell in love with the heat, the loud noises, and the entire atmosphere. When I discovered that I not only liked food, but I could also make people happy by making them food, I realized it was something I could do with my life.”

Eric took on his first cooking job as a junior at North High School. He also took ProStart classes through North High and the Sioux City Career Academy which helped him hone his kitchen skills and gave him groundwork for his future career as a chef.

“English classes in school helped me learn how to interact with professionals,” adds Eric. “And, let’s face it, I do math every single day in my job. Thank goodness for the teachers who helped me get through those courses.”

When Eric wasn’t in the kitchen during high school, he was building his confidence and fueling his competitive spirit through activities including football, jazz choir, student council, track, and tennis. The opportunities pushed him mentally and physically to be his best, says Eric.

“I was a shy and awkward kid growing up and sports helped me with my people skills and confidence. The teachers that meant a lot to me are the ones that always motivated me and pushed me to do the best I could do,” Eric says.

After high school graduation, Eric attended Western Iowa Tech Community College to study culinary, graduating with a culinary arts degree in 2021. During college, he also began his career at the Marriott, accepting a job at Kahill’s Chophouse. The role led him to his current role as Banquet Chef with the Marriott.

Today, Eric still channels his competitive side through powerlifting. And, the alum stays connected to North High, attending football games when he can. He has also gone back to the classroom and worked with some of the Prostart classes at North High.

“Working with Mrs. (Kelsey) Miller and all of the other culinary teachers in the District really has been a lot of fun and very rewarding,” Eric says. “It is genuinely one of the biggest highlights for me.”