Monday, April 13th, 2015
Last month, 31 high school seniors representing 50 Arizona schools faced off in a sweet and savory completion, aka the C-CAP Competition for Scholarships. Students were evaluated on knife skills, techniques in the kitchen, sanitary food handling, taste, timeliness, and dish presentation by our esteemed judges:
Chef Silvana Esparza, Barrio Café, Barrio Queen
Chef Joshua Hebert, POSH Scottsdale
Chef Rick Boyer, The Phoenician
Chef Lenard Rubin, DC Ranch Country Club
Chef Alan Zeman, Rational USA
Chef Frank Caputo, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Chef Ray Trom, Renaissance Glendale Hotel
Chef Justin Olson, Bink’s Midtown, Bink’s Scottsdale
Chef Brian Archibald, C-CAP Alum, Graduate Tempe
Chef Marcos Seville, C-CAP Alum, Montelucia Resort
Chef Cruz Perales, C-CAP Alum, Guckenheimer Corporate Dining
Chef Jelani Port, C-CAP Alum, Personal Chef, Dominick’s Restaurant
Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder
Susan Robbins, C-CAP President
A few nail-biting days later at the C-CAP Arizona Awards Breakfast, C-CAP Arizona Director Jill Smith, C-CAP President Susan Robbins, and C-CAP Founder and Chairman Richard Grausman, presented over $625,000 in scholarships and awards to 33 high school seniors at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel. Guests were honored with speakers City of Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, C-CAP Alum Jared Porter of Clever Koi, and Justin Bethel from the Arizona Cardinals. Justin Bethel presented two $5,000 scholarships from the Dairy Council of Arizona.
And the scholarship winners from Arizona are:
Sabrina Aguilar-Torres, Victoria Andrade, Diego Bemiss, Marrec Clement, Nicolette Coughlin, Brianna Cruz-Rubago, Brittany Dettorre, Kylee Driescher, DeAndre Edgerton, Amanda Furnia, Kellyn Galvan, Vanessa Garnica, Benjamin Goldman, Mikala Grooms, Emily Hoffman, Jenna Kraus, Fiona Nicholson, Anthony Nguyen, Ellen Nguyen, Alejandro Ornelas, Austin Otteman, Elise Payne, Mia Pina, Maria Quintero, Areli Ramos, Delainey Rowland, Daniela Serrano, Courtney Smithson, Nicholas Wilson, and Melencia Yazzie
A short week later in Maryland, 20 finalists representing 11 high schools competed at the Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The illustrious judges were:
Chef Erin Clarke, Restaurant Casa Luca Chef Franz Corrales, C-CAP Alum, Sodexo USA at Covington and Burling, LLP
Chef David Ivey-Soto, Ana G. Mendez University System
Chef Roberto Rosario, Ana G. Mendez University System
Executive Chef Jackie Craig, Sodexo USA at Howard University Hospital
C-CAP Chef Coordinator Troy Williams, GM of Food Service at Howard University Hospital and Restaurant Owner The Spot Deli on H C-CAP Program Coordinator Yvette Williams, Restaurant Owner The Spot Deli on H
C-CAP’s President, Susan Robbins
The Washington, D.C. Region Awards Breakfast was then held at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, where C-CAP Program Coordinators Yvette and Troy Williams and C-CAP President Susan Robbins presented over $340,000 in scholarships and awards to 20 high school seniors. The guest speaker was Jon Langel, General Manager of Bobby Van’s Steakhouse Grill. Susan Robbins was joined by Max Kuller, son of restaurant owner Mark Kuller, to present the Mark Kuller Memorial Scholarship for $5,000, Chefs Graham Bartlett and Noah Loudenback to present the Richard Sandoval Scholarship for $5,000, and with Sandi Hallmark to present the Hallmark Family Scholarship for $5,000.
And the scholarship winners from the Washington D.C. Region are:
Kenndo Batson, Desha Bennett, Mazi Bowen, Gregory Brow, Zion Buckmon, Kevin Cupido, Nathaniel Edwards, Toni Elias, Soraya Gadson, Kyra Green, Jonathan Hernandez, Todd Jenkins, Desiree Joyner, Shantel Jones, Amaya Newman, Elmer Ramirez, Rafel Rosier II, Kayla Saulsbury, Shanequa Sam, Sean Stunton, and Velarie Velasquez.
Through these awards in Arizona and the Greater Washington D.C. area, C-CAP students will be attending a range of post-secondary institutions including Art Institute, Art Institute of Washington, D.C, Art Institute of Phoenix, Art Institute of Tucson, Central Arizona College, Culinary Institute of America, Culinary Institute of Virginia, The International Culinary Center, Johnson & Wales University, Le Cordon Bleu, Monroe College, New England Culinary Institute, and Restaurant School at Walnut Hill.
To the universities, individuals and organizations that support C-CAP — we couldn’t do this without your generosity!
To our senior scholarship winners – we cannot wait to see what you will accomplish next! Best of luck in college and remember, “once you’re in C-CAP, you’re in C-CAP for life!”
Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Not much beats fresh, delicious vegetables and fruit, and there is a reason that the Uptown Farmers Market in North Central Phoenix is a cut above the rest.
On Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., the Uptown Farmers Market will now feature The Veggie Valet, where you can purchase produce from any of the market’s vendors, and then bring it to the C-CAP high school students to mince julienne, slice, or dice – at no cost!
So why are C-CAP students offering this convenient and complimentary service? Two main reasons – to practice their knife skills (which is fundamental for burgeoning chefs), and to give you an opportunity to make a donation to support C-CAP at any level.
“Our Chef students need an outlet to hone their knife skills,” says Nicole DeKruyter, Culinary Coordinator for C-CAP Arizona and C-CAP Alum.
As Bo Mostow, Market Manager for Uptown Farmers Market explains, “convenience matters.” So stop by The Veggie Valet, enjoy the market, and walk away with perfectly prepped produce. We hope you’ll support C-CAP too!
Friday, March 20th, 2015
Check out these links to the fabulous media attention C-CAP garnered this week thanks to our awesome alums, students, staff, and friends!
C-CAP’s Greater Washington D.C.’s Program Coordinator Yvette Williams and Culinary Coordinator Troy Williams are featured with C-CAP students in their restaurant’s new teaching kitchen in this inspiring ABC7-DC story:
WJLA photo credit
Next up, watch superstar pastry chef and C-CAP Alum Thiago Silva, recently nominated in Zagat’s 30 under 30 list, mentor C-CAP student:
Don’t miss this interview with C-CAP Alum and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy and the Wine Editor for Food & Wine Magazine: http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2015/3/20/a-sommeliers-rise-to-the-cellar
And finally, here’s an awesome interview on FOX 5NY that features the Daniel Boulud Scholarship Competition that sends a C-CAP alum to Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon for a five-week course:
Who will make headlines next week?
Saturday, March 14th, 2015
Our proverbial ears have been ringing. Thank you to all our friends and supporters who have tweeted, insta-ed, and facebooked about C-CAP’s Benefits and our work! Check out some of our favorites:
Von L. @vonatron
Last night’s amazing #CCAPBenefit! Great food from celebrated @ccapinc chefs and apprentices! #nom #eeeeeats
Meatless Monday @MeatlessMonday
.@CCAPINC Celebrates 25 Years of Transforming Lives: http://ow.ly/K6I1X
The Sea Grill @theseagrill
Check out these great videos of our sushi experience @ccapinc #ccapbenefit from the fabulous @KitchenTwins! http://tinyurl.com/mugplbp
CulinArt Eating @CulinArtEating
Flashback to Tuesday night at the @CCAPinc Benefit. It was amazing to raise money, enjoy delicious… https://instagram.com/p/z2fFMeAXJ_/
Will Blunt @willblunt
Fresh, clean, addictive umami bowl : @BKida‘s Saffron Chirashi, LI Fluke, Kombu, Trout Roe @CCAPInc #CCAPBenefit
Lauren Jelencovich @LaurenDariana
Hangin w/ one of #NYC‘s finest, @ChefKelvin at the @ccapinc benefit! Arepa for the win! @dgraus @ccapFounder #food
@chef_thiago shows us how to ‘hit it’ at last night’s @ccapinc 2015 benefit
#aboutlastnight #ccap @catchrestaurants #catchnyc #ccapbenefit #chocolate #cake #liquidklondike #icecream #sweets #eatfamous #hungrygrls https://instagram.com/p/zzr9TWQtSs/
@sarabethsnyc @sarabethbakery banana cream dessert #foodieheaven #delish #lovetocook #nyc #ccapbenefit… https://instagram.com/p/z2i5N7wcIK/
Maurice DuBois @mauriceduboistv
.@kitchentwins marcuscooks @roosterharlem #ccapbenefit @ccapinc #unbelievablefood #greatcause https://instagram.com/p/zylMb8w0m7/
Congrats on 25 years @ccapinc & to honoree @smallsalexander for making culinary dreams come true for so many kids http://bit.ly/1MtJ786
Thank you Chef @MarcusCooks for mentoring culinary students & developing future talent. #CCAPbenefit
We also love this post from an Alum who volunteered at our Chicago Benefit, Culinary Futures.
I cannot express the honor and gratitude I have for Richard Grausman, CCAP – Careers through Culinary Arts Program, Nicola Copeland, Brian Hill, Chef David Blackmon, and so many others. I had the pleasure to witness the greatest students in the world. Chicago Public Schools students put together a delicious set of meals that would rival the Top Chefs in New York. Thank you all for what you do including the amazing sponsors like HIC | Harold Import Company. It was truly a “Beautiful Event”. Leslie Jones Fowler this is what your students can do. Go #Nutrition Support Services and #College to Careers!!! Johnson & Wales University North Miami Windy City LIVE Billy Dec Good Morning America — with Jussie Smollett and 6 others at Culinary Futures Benefit and Silent Auction for C-CAP Chicago.
What are YOU saying about our events? Let us know on twitter, instagram, and/or facebook. And keep the great posts coming!
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
Do you know what happens on March 3rd, 2015? If you guessed the C-CAP Annual Benefit at Chelsea Piers, a night of food, fun and friends, you would be CORRECT! But how deep does your knowledge go? Test your savviness with these fun trivia questions on one of the year’s best food events!
True or False! When you buy a VIP Ticket (or Sponsorship!), you get access to the chefs and their amazing food for 45 whole minutes before the masses arrive. And when you buy a Special VVIP ticket, you get that AND you’ll become a Greek God or Goddess with an autographed copy of Chef Maria Loi’s brand spankin’ new cookbook, The Greek Diet.
True! (Mostly.) Purchase a Special VIP ticket at $1,000 by calling us at 212-974-7111 (or purchase online) for exclusive early access to the event and the cookbook. We can’t actually deify you as a Greek god or goddess, but we promise to treat you like one! (VIP tickets available at $700 and General Admission at $550 as well.)
True or False? This is only C-CAP’s 6th Annual Benefit and our first time with two honorees.
False! This is actually C-CAP’s 17th Annual Benefit, and this year we are also celebrating our 25th year of transforming lives through culinary arts! This is also the fifth time we have featured an illustrious pair of culinary groundbreakers, including our 2015 Honorees Dick Parsons and Alexander Smalls! How many former honorees can you name? (Hint: there are 22 including Mr. Parsons and Mr. Smalls.)
C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman and President Susan Robbins with 2014 Honoree Michael White
Former Honorees Chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Daniel Boulud
Answer (in reverse chronological order): Dick Parsons and Alexander Smalls, Michael White, Tony May, Michael McCarty, Michael Lomonaco, Marcus Samuelsson, Drew Nieporent, Alfred Portale, Lidia Bastianich, Thomas Keller, Charlier Palmer, Danny Meyer and Michael Romano, Daniel Boulud, Jacques Pépin, Siro and Egidiana Maccioni, Tim and Nina Zagat, Saul and Stanley Zabar—oh my!
True or False? The itinerary of the evening is eat, eat, and eat some more (of the most delicious food you’ve ever had in your life)!
False! While the food is TRULY delicious and we encourage you to eat, don’t forget to take part in our live and silent auctions where you can win food, wine and travel packages that will change your life! You won’t want to miss ‘em!
Did you know? Not only can you sample these chefs’ delicious food at our event, but you can bid on exclusive meals and food experiences at their restaurants and in some cases in your own home! #yesplease #auctiontime
Chefs Alexander Smalls & JJ Johnson and Pastry Chef Mame Sow of The Cecil and Minton’s
Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem
Chef Ben Pollinger of Oceana
Chef Michael Lomonoco of Porter House NY
Chef Maria Loi of Loi Estiatorio
Chef Jason Weiner of Almond
Chef Kyung Up Lim of Michael’s
Chef Daniel Boulud of Daniel
Pastry Chef Ron Paprocki of Gotham Bar and Grill
Chef Fortunato Nicotra of Felidia
Pastry Chef Sarabeth Levine of Sarabeth’s
Did You Know? Each featured chef at our benefit is assisted by C-CAP alumni and current C-CAP students. That’s 50 alumni and current C-CAP students that you will have the chance to meet when you come to this event. Plus some of the featured chefs are C-CAP alums themselves: Pastry Chef Thiago Silva (The General), Chef Kelvin Fernandez (La Marina), Chef Cesar Gutierrez (Lexington Brass), Pastry Chef Mame Sow (Minton’s), and Pastry Chef Veronica Rivera (Restaurant Marc Forgione)! C-CAP Alum and Executive Pastry Chef Thiago Silva of The General
A C-CAP alum, hard at work
And there’s so much more to get excited about. Check this recent blog post for more fun facts about our honorees and our website for helpful information about our benefit. In the meantime, don’t forget to pick up the phone (212-974-7111) or go online to purchase your ticket!
Be sure to follow us on twitter and instagram at @ccapinc; we’ll be using #ccapbenefit to share the Benefit buzz.
Friday, February 6th, 2015
Last month, C-CAP teachers in Philly attended the second annual Philly Chef Conference at Drexel University for some well-earned professional development. Meanwhile, Philly students are embarking on a series of visits to culinary professionals across the city as part of C-CAP Philly’s Meet the Chef program. With preliminary competition behind them, students are now preparing healthy breakfast items for The Culinary Voice competition and C-CAP Final Competition. It’s a busy and exciting month!
This weekend will see a trifecta of preliminary competitions with New York, Chicago and Arizona students all putting their best omelet forward! Best of luck, everyone!
Having dug out from the blizzard that never was and all the subsequent snow, C-CAP New Yorkers will be heading upstate this weekend for Preliminary Competition at Monroe College, and then downstate in two weeks for Winter Chefs at Kingsborough Community College, where students will spend four days taking college-level culinary courses and basically becoming uber talented. And of course on March 3rd, students and alumni will be assisting world-class chefs at the C-CAP Annual Benefit! (Get your tickets here!)
They say good things come in threes, so friends of C-CAP made sure we had three great events over the next month to support C-CAP. Putting the “fun” in “fundraiser” in Arizona this month will be Arizona Cocktail Week, in which C-CAP will benefit from the proceeds of the Arizona Storytelling Project dinner on February 15th, and partner restaurant EVO will donate to C-CAP AZ 50% of proceeds of the evenings sales on February 17th! In Chicago, The Culinary Futures Benefit and Silent Auction at Ovation Chicago will be raising money for scholarships on March 8th!
C-CAP LA will be gathering top chefs of the culinary scene to speak to students at their Chefs Panel later this month. Then students will have the opportunity to put all that good advice into practice the next day when they take part in job shadows across the city!
So there you have it! Across the country, C-CAP is cooking up a big wintery stew of awesomeness. Too much? Too crazy? Not at all! Here at C-CAP we believe we can never have too many cooks in the kitchen.
Saturday, January 31st, 2015
That’s right folks, the event you’ve been waiting for all year is only a month away—the C-CAP Annual Benefit! (And it’s not too early to buy your tickets!)
In celebration of our 25th anniversary, we’re going big and honoring not one but two giants in the culinary field: Dick Parsons and Alexander Smalls. Together, these gentlemen own Minton’s and The Cecil (named Best New Restaurant of 2014 by Esquire), where they employ many a C-CAP intern and alum including Executive Pastry Chef Mame Sow! But they are extraordinary in many other ways as well. To give you a better sense of these impressive, multi-talented, and just plain interesting gentlemen, we give you-
10 Fun Facts About Our Honorees!
- Parsons and Mr. Smalls first talked of the idea of The Cecil and Minton’s at a dinner party; five years later in 2014, it became a reality.
- Minton’s, an elegant jazz club, opened in the late 1930s in the first floor of The Cecil Hotel. It was named after its owner, tenor saxophonist Henry Minton. It lasted for almost 40 years, closing in the 1970s. The new Cecil and Minton’s opened in 2014 in the same spot.
- Reading in Miles Davis’ biography that Minton’s was described as the most elegant club in town, Mr. Parsons and Mr. Smalls strove to capture and connect to that legacy of classiness.
- Dick Parsons has served two U.S. presidents—on a panel of economic advisors to President Obama, and as a Senior White House Aide under President Ford!
- Dick Parsons was selected to run the basketball team the Los Angeles Clippers.
- Dick Parsons played the trumpet growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He took his senior prom date to hear jazz and it’s been a lifelong dream of his to own a jazz club.
- In addition to running Time Warner, Providence Equity Partners, and Dime Savings Bank, Mr. Parsons has volunteered his expertise with many cultural organizations including The Apollo Theater Foundation, The Council at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, MOMA, the Museum of Natural History, and of course, C-CAP!
- Chef Alexander Smalls calls his signature style of cooking “Southern revival with low-country notes.” Don’t call it soul food! Sample that at Minton’s, or step next door to The Cecil for food of the African diaspora at the city’s first African-Asian-American brasserie.
- Chef Smalls’ first restaurant in New York was Café Beulah, and his memoir cookbook is called Grace the Table.
- In addition to being a restaurateur and chef, Mr. Smalls was also a successful opera singer! His recording of Porgy and Bess with the Houston Grand Opera won both a Tony and a Grammy award.
Want to meet and celebrate these amazing gentlemen and support C-CAP? Here’s some important information about the C-CAP Annual Benefit.
How do you get your tickets to the benefit? Click here or call Emily at 212.974.7111.
What chefs will be cooking this year? Check out our impressive lineup here!
What does the benefit support? Read this blog post about the students and programs you support with your ticket purchase.
With one month to go, you can look forward to more fun information as we approach our biggest event of the year. In the meantime, tell your friends, buy your tickets, and—
Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Can you hear that? That sound of hundreds of knives chopping? Hundreds of eggs cracking? Yes—it’s C-CAP students across the country preparing for Preliminary Competition!
From now to the end of May, C-CAPPERS across the nation will be honing their skills, practicing their recipes, and preparing to bring their best on competition day. To give you an overview of the process, we are revisiting our “Competition Essentials” post from last year. And as an added bonus, we’ve got new competition advice from alums across the country!
In essence, what is the C-CAP Preliminary Competition for Scholarships? How will it differ from the Final Competition?
Students submit a written application comprised of an essay, letters of recommendation, and college research. This earns them the chance to compete in the preliminary round of our Competition for Scholarships. Competitors prepare from memory two French Rolled Omelets and two Standing Tomato Cucumber and Bell Pepper Salads — one for presentation and one for tasting. They have one hour to complete their dishes and clean their workstation.
The format is very similar in Final Competition, but the dishes get more complex.
How have the students been preparing?
It starts with their dedicated teachers. Throughout the year, students learn all the necessary skills: knife cuts, sanitation, organization, techniques and professional behavior. Many also participate in C-CAP Job Shadow opportunities or volunteer through C-CAP at culinary events. They take the opportunity to practice the “competition recipes” both in school and at home —sometimes for years!
Walk us through the Preliminary Competition day.
Students arrive the morning of competition, receive their numbers and put on their uniforms. Students bring their own pans and utensils and are given ten minutes to set up their stations. From the time the clock starts, students have one-hour to complete their dishes while the judges walk around observing.
What are the judges looking for?
The purpose of the preliminary competition is to observe a student’s potential for success in the industry and to determine if they have mastered the basic skills needed to start working in a professional kitchen. The judges will be considering a wide range of criteria: knife skills, proper use of kitchen tools, speed, confidence, professionalism, organization, sanitation, presentation and, of course, taste!
What happens after?
It’s pretty straightforward. The judges take meticulous notes during the competition: not only on kitchen skills, but also on the students’ soft skills and professionalism. Finalists are notified shortly after competition day.
What’s happening behind the scenes to help support competitors during this whole competition process?
It’s much more than the day itself! Our C-CAP locations will kick off the process with an Information Session in the fall that gives students and their parents an in-depth look at the competition process. Locations will also provide college advising and support, from college research help to financial aid workshops. Our competitors can also take part in Practice Sessions where kitchens are open for their use outside of school hours.
Rebeca Rios, you were both a C-CAP New York competitor/scholarship recipient and have helped out at numerous competitions since. Do you have any advice you can share with competitors preparing for the big day?
Rebeca Rios: When I was competing, I took a corner of the kitchen and I made my routine perfect: everything within the time limit since I knew how many steps to the stove or oven. Never did it cross my mind that not every kitchen is built the same. My best advice is to always practice in a different part of the kitchen, with different amounts of space for prep, with a different range top or oven, to see how that might play into your timeline.
This week, we asked our alums on Facebook to share advice with C-CAP students headed into competition season. Here’s what they said!
Oliver Malcolm, C-CAP Chicago alum and scholarship recipient:
Play like a champion. Most of you have worked three hard years for this moment and nothing should stand in your way. Remember that everything counts here, so academic efforts as well as knife skills will come into play. Each and every school is great but it takes someone with ambition and a willingness to learn to get the best out of any culinary school. Pressure will be weighing you down so try to keep your mind focused on what you are doing in the kitchen. Time trials will help your speed in this competition. For fun, learn to do your work to music if you want, but speed and performance is key here. Good luck to all of you. Alumni across the US and the world over will be rooting for you and looking forward to your success.
Larry F. Purvis, C-CAP New York alum and scholarship recipient:
You have your knowledge and you have practiced hard and often. So, in that last moment of nervousness, stop, take a breath, put knife in hand and realize your goal!
Rafael Perezchica, C-CAP Los Angeles alum and scholarship recipient:
Taste everything, make a prep list, have your time line, and don’t forget to breathe!!!!! Best of luck to all!!!!!
Cristina Martinez, C-CAP Arizona alum and scholarship recipient:
Have a positive mind! Even when things are going super wrong, use that as motivation to make everything else better!! Believe in yourselves! Yes, worry about your timing and seasoning but also have tons of fun and enjoy it! Best of luck!
For more excellent advice, check out our Instagram post!
Do you have advice to give? Do you have questions for other alums about how you can prepare? Comment on our Facebook post or Instagram post to connect with your fellow C-CAPPERS. Use the hashtags #ccapalums, #ccapiscooking #upstandingsalads or #eggceptionalomelets to give or get advice!
We promise to update you over the coming months on dates, judges, and scholarships awarded! Now back to your kitchens and —
Saturday, January 17th, 2015
It’s that time of year again when anyone who’s anyone (or really just anyone) gazes into their crystal ball and predicts the food and restaurant trends for the coming year. So to join in the soothsaying fun, we made for you a list. In fact, not just a list—but a List Of Lists. Here are just a few of our favorite predictions for where food is headed in 2015. What are your predictions for the coming year?
- Whether you think kale is kale-tastic or kale-trocious, it is apparently time for it to cede its moment in the spotlight and make way for…cauliflower. Because this year, cauliflower is the new kale. [Read here.]
- …Unless you believe radishes are. In related news: sour is the new sweet, yogurt is the new way to get your veggies, and fancy cookies are the new EVERYTHING. [Read here.]
- We’ve always had an investment in the people making the food, as well as the food itself. This year, it’s a trend! [Read here.]
- Have you started thinking about where your food is coming from, who has access to it, and how growing it affects the environment? Well, you’re going to love it when these conversations hit big in 2015. [Read here.]
- 33 Clever People says Clever Things about what they’d like to see in 2015. [Cleverness guaranteed to rub off on readers.] [Read here.]
- 20 crowd-sourced chef picks on what 2015 will bring. (Self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps?) [Read here.]
- “What do you mean you left the dinner tickets at home?” (And root veggies and Filipino cuisine step into the spotlight.) [Read here.]
- Fat+Local+Insects+Harissa+Millet +Peas=What You Will Eat in 2015. Mmmmm. [Read here.]
Do you have food trend predictions for 2015? Share your ideas with us on Facebook.
And stay tuned!
Friday, January 9th, 2015
Happy New Year, C-CAP friend!
Whether you’re a chef, teacher, alum, donor, industry professional, foodie, or admirer from afar, we’re grateful for your interest and investment in C-CAP and our very talented students, past and present.
At this time of year, as we bid goodbye to 2014 and welcome the year ahead, we find great joy in taking stock and celebrating the great achievements of our alumni. This year, we were thrilled to have Forbes join us in this worthwhile pursuit!
May we present to you, Executive Chef and C-CAP Alum Kelvin Fernandez—otherwise known as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2015! We’re so proud of you, Kelvin!
Kelvin Fernandez, Executive Chef, La Marina
Kelvin made a splash on the New York culinary scene when he became an Executive Chef at the tender age of 22. Having competed on Chopped and led multiple kitchens at the age of 29, Kelvin says it’s the same thing that made him a success that keeps him a success—mentorship. Kelvin credits his rise to the incredible training and mentorship he received early in his career from C-CAP and from George Masraff, Marcus Samuelsson, Alfred Portale, and George Lang. He credits his continued success to the mentorship he provides as a leader, making sure everyone in his kitchen feels like a vital part of the team. Kelvin’s kitchens not only turn out superlative and inventive cuisine, they produce highly seasoned and confident young cooks who follow both him and his example.
Did you know? This is the second year running that a C-CAP alum has been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30! Check out Master Sommelier and C-CAP Alum Carlton McCoy’s feature from 2014.
And since we only resolved not to do ALL of our own bragging, here are a few more of C-CAP’s uber-talented food professionals—all under 30!
We think 2015 is setting up to be a darn good year.
C-CAP’s “Leaders Under 30” Round Up
Cesar Gutierrez, Executive Chef, Lexington Brass
Just two years ago, Cesar Gutierrez was a line cook at the popular Midtown-East eatery Lexington Brass. Now, at the tender age of 24, he has worked his way up the restaurant ranks to become Executive Chef. And yet, this trajectory is hardly surprising for this extraordinary young man. On the streets at age 12, he fell into gang life, sold drugs, and ended up in prison. When Cesar returned to high school, he enrolled in C-CAP and was quick to excel, winning a full-tuition scholarship to The French Culinary Institute, and later, the Daniel Boulud/C-CAP Scholarship to the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France where he spent five weeks learning authentic French cuisine. Cesar has worked at many of New York’s finest restaurants including Daniel, Picholine, Lyon Bouchon Modern, BLT Prime, and Feast & Fetes Catering, and has staged at highly ranked restaurants across France and Brazil. In his new role as Executive Chef, Cesar is mentoring the next generation of C-CAP interns and alumni.
Mame Sow, Executive Pastry Chef, Harlem Jazz Enterprises—The Cecil and Minton’s
Fusing her Senegalese background with classical French pastry education, C-CAP alumna Mame Sow brought her unique background and skills to an award-winning new Harlem restaurant group that celebrates the foods of the African diaspora, including fusion cuisine (The Cecil) and low-country traditions (Minton’s)—along the way, honing her skills at the likes of Fauchon, Bouchon Bakery, Aquavit, Riingo and Merkato 55, David Burke at Bloomingdale’s, Spot Dessert Bar, and Co-op Food and Drink.
Veronica Rivera, Executive Pastry Chef, Marc Forgione
Not only is this 23-year-old Executive Pastry Chef and C-CAP alumna the first in her family to attend college, she is already focused on giving back. When asked what success looks like to her, Veronica doesn’t mention her meteoric rise to the top working at Craftsteak, Locanda Verde and American Cut, or her culinary collaborations with master chef Marc Forgione (who praises her hard work, creativity, and passion), she replies “Success to me is when you start to influence and change the lives of others; when you become a mentor and a reason for someone else’s success. There’s no better feeling than that.”
Claire Crenshaw, Executive Pastry Chef, Moto
Rapidly promoted in every pastry team she’s hired to, Claire believes in breaking boundaries and breaking the mold: whether trading the warmth of her native Arizona in a for the chance to work at Chicago’s Quince and then rise in the ranks at TRU, or experimenting with new flavors and creations at Michelin-starred Moto, where she is now Executive Pastry Chef. Recently seen representing the brightest women stars of the culinary world at James Beard Foundation dinners or competing to benefit local charities, Claire is an example to generations of C-CAP students.
Anthony Greco, Pastry Chef, Lukshon
C-CAP alumnus Anthony Greco went from living in Los Angeles’s gangland capital, shuffling between divorced parents, to working in a 4-star Hotel, being mentored by Guittard’s own Executive Pastry Chef. Now he is working under Sang Yoon as the Pastry Chef of Lukshon, one of LA’s hottest restaurants, all the while helping to fundraise for culinary arts education for at-risk teens like his former self.
Jelani Port, Personal Chef to Larry Fitzgerald, NFL player
For the past four years, this 23 year-old C-CAP alumnus has been Personal Chef to football player Larry Fitzgerald, who says “Just knowing where he came from and how hard he’s worked to overcome some adversity in his life is astonishing—and it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for programs like C-CAP.” Not only does Jelani take seriously the health and well being of one of Arizona’s top athletes, he’s equally committed to bringing that knowledge and excitement into the schools as a chef participant in Chefs Move to Schools, and Fuel Up to Play 60., He also always has time to give back to the program that gave him his start, volunteering as a judge and mentor for C-CAP competition practice. Having risen to the top of his field, Jelani never misses an opportunity to educate the next generation about nutrition and healthy living!