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Fatoumata Dembele
Making dreams happen with effort and help

C-CAP Graduate
Frankford High School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Teacher: Wilma Stephenson

Current Position
Culinary Student
Monroe College
New Rochelle, New York

How C-CAP Made a Difference
“I don’t know where I would be now without the scholarship to Monroe,” Dembele explains. “Through C-CAP I met Chef Marcus Samuelsson and got a chance to work at Riingo. Personally and professionally, C-CAP has made a huge impact on my life."

Fatoumata Dembele wanted to go to college. But her family was recently arrived from Africa and had few resources. With help from C-CAP, Dembele made her college dream happen. Though not without plenty of work–and nerves–along the way. Watch the documentary Pressure Cooker with scenes of Dembele and other students preparing for the C-CAP Cooking Competition in 2007 for a window on the hours of practice and the high stakes. Even more tense for her was the C-CAP awards presentation. “Once I passed the competition, I knew I’d receive a scholarship but didn’t know to where,” she explains. “I really wanted to go to Monroe College. I’d visited the campus and the academic program is strong.”

Dembele will graduate from Monroe with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and a minor in forensic accounting. Her advice to current C-CAP students: “It’s not just about winning a scholarship. It’s your effort that will determine your own outcome.”

A TASTE OF C-CAP: Fatoumata’s Sea Bass Marsala with Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 lb. sea bass, skin on
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 c. Marsala wine (preferred) or white wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 c. chopped onions
  • 1/4 c. sliced wild mushrooms (preferred) or white mushrooms
  • 1/4 c. plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 c. stock, preferably chicken or fish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté chopped onion until translucent. Add garlic, watching that does not burn.
  2. Deglaze pan with wine. (Do carefully; best to remove pan from stove.) When wine is cooked off, add half of butter, then mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium low; cook mushrooms till tender.
  3. Add tomatoes; cook about a minute and taste. Add stock; cook on low heat until thickens a bit; salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from heat or lower to simmer while fish cooks.
  4. Season fillets with salt and pepper. In ovenproof sauté pan, heat canola oil over medium high until extremely hot. Add rest of butter; carefully add fillets to pan, skin side down. Cook about 4 minutes until skin is crispy. Turn fish and cook about 25 seconds on other side.
  5. Place in oven and roast 3 to 5 minutes. Serve fish on warmed plates with sauce on top. Garnish with a little chopped cilantro. Baked potatoes or wild rice good accompaniments. Makes 2 servings.

quote“Being in 'Pressure
Cooker' gave me
a chance to meet
people who relate
to my experience.
I’ve learned you
can’t let struggles overcome you.
There are others
who can help.
For me,
it’s C-CAP.”

cooking tipTaste as you cook
and pay attention
to flavor. It makes
a difference.

 

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Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) works with public schools across the nation to prepare high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. A national nonprofit, C-CAP provides teacher training, scholarships, cooking competitions, job shadows, training and internships, college and career advising, and product and equipment donations.

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