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Phoenix, AZ—Today at the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Arizona Awards Breakfast, C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman, C-CAP President Susan Robbins and C-CAP Arizona Director Jill Smith awarded $500,000 in scholarships and cash awards to thirty high school seniors during the awards ceremony hosted by the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

Former Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills player, John Fina, presented the NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 and Dairy Council of Arizona $5,000 scholarship to Alhambra High School senior Noel Renteria. Students from Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix and Surprise were among the winners at the event. Local competitors Christopher Owens, North High School was awarded the CIA Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates and a CIA Community College Stipend valued at $51,800; Courtney Clardy was awarded the Art Institute of Phoenix Scholarship valued at $50,000 and Emily Spriet of the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) received the Art Institute of Colorado Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates valued at $43,830. Gustavo Alegria of North High School was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Classic Cooking Academy in Scottsdale. Michael Ritcheson of Glendale High School won a partial-tuition scholarship to the Arizona Culinary Institute supplemented by a James Beard Foundation Scholarship and employment at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.


Susan Robbins, John Fina and Richard Grausman

Scholarships awarded ranged in value from $2,000 to $104,000 to attend local culinary schools and some of the most prestigious culinary schools in the country including: the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Johnson & Wales University, Monroe College, the International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes, Le Cordon Bleu, Arizona Culinary Institute. Students also received scholarships from organizations including ACF Chefs Association of Arizona and Les Dames d’Escoffier Phoenix Chapter, Slow Food, Mark Tarbell Scholarship and Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Scholarship, C-CAP/American Institute of Cancer Research Super Foods Dessert Contest Scholarship.

Some students also received cash awards to help defray the costs of books, supplies, housing, and other expenses while at community college or another culinary school.

In addition, employment opportunities were awarded from Canyon Ranch and Westin Kierland Resort and Spa.

On March 16 at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, 30 finalists representing Arizona public high schools competed against the clock when (C-CAP) re-created the intensity of a four-star restaurant kitchen for the high school seniors to face off in a savory and sweet challenge. Within a two-hour time limit, each competitor prepared from memory, a two-course French meal — Sûpreme Poulet Chasseur avec Pommes Château (Hunter’s Chicken with Turned, Sautéed Potatoes) and Crêpes Sucrées with Crème Pâtissière and Sauce au Chocolat (Dessert Crepes with Pastry Cream and Chocolate Sauce).

The students were then judged on the presentation of the dishes, knife skills, techniques in the kitchen, taste, sanitary food handling, and timeliness by professionals working in the industry including:

  • ·       Glenn Humphrey, C.E.C., C.C.E., Arizona Culinary Institute
  • ·       Brian Dragos, E.C., Nestle Food Service
  • ·       Alan Zeman, Rational USA
  • ·       Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Cafe/Barrio Queen
  • ·       Amy Binkley, Binkley’s/Cafe Bink
  • ·       Frank Belosic and Lee Hillson, The Phoenician
  • ·       Jared Porter, The Parlor
  • ·       Jelani Port, private chef
  • ·       Lenard Rubin, The Wigwam Resort
  • ·       Christopher Masco, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
  • ·       Howard Pierceall, CEC, Sysco
  • ·       Richard Grausman, Founder of C-CAP and Susan Robbins, President
  •         of C-CAP

The C-CAP Cooking Competitions for Scholarships are the culmination of the C-CAP year-long program for underserved teenagers at risk of leaving high school without job or college prospects. The C-CAP program offers direction, a set of useful skills, scholarships, and the potential for a fulfilling career in a growing industry.




Casa Grande High School  CAVIT

  • Eyrricka Prescott, Monroe College Full-Tuition for the Bachelors, $48,192
  • Mykel Zankl, C-CAP Education Scholarship, $2,000

Vista Grande High School  CAVIT

  • Kenny Wietholter, Lee Hillson Scholarship, $4,000


Flagstaff High School CAVIAT

  • Emma Frain, Johnson & Wales Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Bachelors, $104,448


Perry High School  

  • Zackariah Giusti, Beau MacMillan Scholarship, $4,000


Cactus High School  West-MEC

  • Caroline Reilly, Art Institute of Las-Vegas Half-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates ($26,145), C-CAP Education Scholarship ($1,000), Total: $27,145

Glendale High School  West-MEC

  • Jaycob Evans, Heavy Medal Scholarship, $3,000
  • Michael Ritcheson, Arizona Culinary Institute Partial-Tuition Scholarship ($5,000), James Beard Foundation Scholarship ($3,750), Employment at Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, Total: $8,750


Maricopa High School CAVIT

  • Jessica Stansbery, Central Arizona Presidential Scholarship ($2,000), C-CAP/AICR Super Foods Dessert Contest Scholarship – 3rd Place ($2,000), Getting Our Just Desserts Scholarship ($2,500), Total: $6,500


Canyon del Oro High School  Pima Co JTED

  • Nichole Carpenter, Art Institute of Tucson Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates, $43,290


Payson High School  NAVIT

  • Levii Lopez, Le Cordon Bleu Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Certificate, $19,200
  • Autumn Parrish, Le Cordon Bleu Full-Tuition for the Associates, $36,200


Liberty High School West-MEC

  • Samantha Rudolph, C-CAP Education Scholarship, $2,000
  • Katie Watson, Mark Tarbell Scholarship, $2,000


Alhambra High School

  • Noel Renteria, Fuel Up to Play 60 Scholarship, $5,000


  • Courtney Clardy,  Art Institute of Phoenix Scholarship, $50,000
  • Michelle Gero, Arizona Culinary Institute Partial-Tuition Scholarship ($5,000), EVIT Mystery Chef Scholarship ($4,000), Total: $9,000
  • Emily Spriet, Art Institute of Colorado Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates, $43,830

Metro Tech

  • Brenda Fernandez, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Scholarship, $4,000
  • Ernesto Gutierrez, ACF Chefs Association of Arizona Scholarship, $3,000
  • Joselyn Iniguez-Gonzalez, C-CAP Education Scholarship, $3,000


  • Gustavo Alegria, Classic Cooking Academy Full-Tuition Scholarship, $15,000

North Canyon West-MEC

  • Christopher Owens, CIA Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates ($51,800), CIA Community College Stipend ($750), Total: $52,550

South Mountain

  • Margie Ortega, C-CAP Education Scholarship, $2,000

Washington West-MEC

  • Sarah Cotten, Barbara Fenzl Scholarship, $3,000



  • Andrew Hills, C-CAP Education Scholarship (in Honor of Barbara Colleary), $2,000


Valley Vista West-MEC

  • Logan Murphy, Heavy Medal Scholarship, $4,000


Flowing Wells Pima Co JTED

  • Sulema Contreras, C-CAP Education Scholarship, $2,000

Santa Rita JTED

  • Jason Garcia, C-CAP Education Scholarship (in Memory of Tracy Fierros), Canyon Ranch Employment, $2,000
  • Debra Kitchens, Les Dames d’Escoffier Phoenix Chapter ($2,000), Slow Food Scholarship ($1,000), Employment in Tucson area restaurant, Total: $3,000


Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) works with public schools nationwide to prepare underserved high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

In Arizona for the 2012-2013 academic year, C-CAP impacted the lives of over 4,500 students in 52 public schools working with 65 teachers through training, career services and scholarships. C-CAP provides training and curriculum enrichment programs including: job training and internships, professional development for teachers, college and career advising, and culinary competitions that lead to culinary school scholarships and opportunities, and product donations.

A national nonprofit organization founded in 1990 by well-known culinary educator and author, Richard Grausman, C-CAP manages the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the United States and has awarded high school students $38 million in scholarships and donated $2.8 million worth of supplies and equipment to classrooms.

For more information about C-CAP, visit

Press Contact:

Sharon Levinson, C-CAP Arizona

PH:  602.549.0859



Media Contact: Sharon Levinson–623-594-0010;


—Phoenix Top-Rated Chefs Battle for C-CAP Heavy Medal Title—

 The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Sunday, March 10, 2013, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Phoenix, AZ—January 31 Chef Lee Hillson of The Phoenician Resort will defend his Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Heavy Medal title in a culinary battle against Chef Stephen Toevs of The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix. The Heavy Medal Challenge will take place during a fundraising dinner on Sunday, March 10, 6:00-9:00p.m. at The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain where Chef Michael DeMaria will serve as emcee.

Two guests will have the chance to join a local celebrity panel of judges to determine the winner of the Heavy Medal Challenge. The evening will include a cocktail reception, a sumptuous 4-course dinner with selected wines, and an exciting silent auction with one-of-a-kind travel and culinary packages.

Tickets purchased before February 15 for the event are $175 per person, after February 15, tickets are $225 per person. To purchase tickets on line visit: and enter the event code: ccap2013.

WHO: Chef Lee Hillson,The Phoenician Resort will defend his Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Heavy Medal title in a culinary battle against Chef Stephen Toevs, The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix.  Chef Michael DeMaria of M Culinary Concepts will serve as emcee.

WHAT: Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Heavy Medal Culinary Challenge

WHERE: The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, 5700 E McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley

WHEN:  Sunday, March 10, 2013, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will benefit C-CAP Arizona, a  501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides training to culinary teachers in 52 Arizona high schools, and scholarships to qualified underserved high school students competing in the C-CAP Arizona Cooking Competition for Scholarships to continue their culinary education. High school culinary programs keep students from dropping out of school, offer life-changing opportunities in the hospitality industry, and get these young people established as productive members of our community. To support students in that pursuit, C-CAP awarded over $600,000 in scholarships to 30 Arizona students in 2012.

Arizona’s economy is substantially supported by hospitality and tourism. Over the past 20 years, C-CAP scholarship winners found employment in the industry with restaurants and caterers as well as in corporate kitchens, hospitals and nursing homes. Many have risen in the industry to be executive chefs, sous chefs or to go into successful businesses for themselves. C-CAP wants to reach more students and teachers this year.

About Chef Lee Hillson:

Chef Lee Hillson enrolled in culinary school in his native England at the age of 16. Two years later he was cooking at the Hyatt in Austin, TX, and then returned to London as the Chef de Partie at the Roux Patisserie. After several prestigious stops as Pastry Chef in England, he became Executive Sous Chef at Vanderbilt Hall in Newport, RI. He was soon appointed Executive Chef at this restaurant, ranked as one of the country’s top five by Country Inn magazine.

In 2000, Lee joined T. Cook’s and is part of the team that garnered acclaim from Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Travel + Leisure magazine and a host of food writers. He has repeatedly taken top honors in Zagat Surveys, and the Arizona Republic/ Readers’ Choice Awards. Lee cooked on many occasions at the James Beard House in New York and hosted a Friends of James Beard dinner at the resort. He battled with Iron Chef Cat Cora on the Food Network show, Iron Chef America.

Lee served as celebrity chef on luxury cruises through the Mediterranean, Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. He created a First Class menu for the Phoenix to London flights on British Airways and was nominated to the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. His leisure time is filled with commitments to local and national charity events such as the Maui Charity Golf Classic-Susan G. Komen Hawaii, Taste of the Nation, Phoenix Cooks!, United Food Bank, as well as serving as a judge for C-CAP scholarship competitions that are now underway for 2013.

About Chef Toevs:

Chef Stephen Toevs’ lifelong passion for cooking began by shucking clams on a family fish boat off the waters of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. As his talents matured and combined with his Portuguese roots, he created an eclectic cooking style all his own.

As Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, he wants his food to contribute to the guests’ experience. So with each culinary creation, he strives to combine individual flavors and aromas that harmonize together to bring a moment that will never be forgotten.

Chef Toevs has been with the Marriott family for over eight years, graduating from the Culinary Institute of America; Hyde Park, New York in 2003. He began his culinary career as Sous Chef at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott in Texas cooking his way through the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the JW Marriott Desert Ridge.

He had the prestigious honor of being a regional finalist in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a young chef competition, cooked at the James Beard House in 2010 and was the founder and chief cook of Desert Ridge Pit Masters, winning numerous awards in Arizona’s BBQ circuit.

Chef Toevs has been with The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix since May 2011 and is an active volunteer for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, The Liver Foundation of Phoenix, The Andre House and now C-CAP.

About Chef Michael DeMaria:

Although Chef Michael DeMaria is serving as emcee, he has extensive culinary credentials and operates the very successful M Culinary Concepts that includes M Catering by Michael’s, Main course Innovative Business Dining and M Restaurants. Chef DeMaria graduated from the Culinary School of Hard Knocks during his career that started with a Chef-Apprenticeship at the Arizona Biltmore in 1978.

He worked at the Westin Hotels, the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, Lon’s at the Hermosa, Royal Palms among others. Chef DeMaria was an instructor at the California Culinary Academy as well.  For ten years, he had a popular restaurant, Michael’s at the Citadel, followed by Heirloom, An American Restaurant in Scottsdale.

Chef DeMaria hosted Arizona Morning: “On the Table” for ten years on Fox 10. His awards are numerous as are his contributions to the community. If and when he has spare time, he is an avid competitive fly fisherman.

MEDIA NOTE(S):  Media who wish to attend the event should contact Sharon Levinson, 623-594-0117.

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