Behind Every Good Chef…

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Meghan on the Farm

Remember how we told you that C-CAP’s National College Advisor and Alumni Coordinator Meghan Seradsky was honored with a Legacy Award from Les Dames d’Escoffier? This past August, Meghan spent a week in and around Atlanta, Georgia learning about farms, farmers, farm-to-table, and how to answer the question “Where does good food come from?” Here’s a sneak peek from an article she wrote about her experience:

“That’s not what it’s about,” Mary squarely responds in a tone that suggests perhaps I am a little thick. She was responding to my inquiry about how long it took to perfect her formula for goat cheese.

That’s not what it’s about? For someone like me, a cook in a previous life, Mary’s response is befuddling. What does she mean the formula isn’t important? This is cheese, isn’t it?

I ponder her response as Mary, the beloved Decimal Place farmer, goat-herder and artisanal cheesemaker, opens the gate for her two mammoth-sized dogs to lead the herd to pasture. Fifty snow-colored goats happily follow, ‘behh-ing’ in anticipation.

We continue our tour through Mary’s 40-acre farm, much of it woods, as she points out poison ivy, privet and honeysuckle that the goats will shortly feast on. “You see,” she continues. “Anyone can make cheese. There are plenty of recipes out there, you just pick one and follow it.” She ducks under a cobweb and deftly picks her way through the trees, shrubs and branches. “But,” she adds, “it has to start with the milk. Milk starts with the goats and even that begins with the land, really.”

For someone at the tail-end of a six-day trip shadowing five farmers across greater Atlanta, I should have known. Of course it’s about the land.

To learn more about Meghan’s experience, stay tuned for her full account featured in an upcoming issue of Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s Quarterly magazine!

Stay tuned!

What can we say? ‘Tis the season for pie!

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and in case you’re panicking that you don’t have a pie to bring to dinner), the alumni association wants to share with you one of their award-winning pie recipes. Because we are thankful for YOU!

Prepare yourself for the deliciousness of Banana Mascarpone Crème Pie with Curry Pineapple Compote by C-CAP alum Stefen Bullen!

And if you make it, don’t forget to share your beautiful pictures with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!

Banana-Mascarpone Crème Pie with Curry Pineapple Compote


Pineapple Curry Sauce

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp curry powder (preferably Madras)

20 oz can of crushed pineapple

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

20 oz can of water

¼ cup of brown sugar

½ cup of white sugar

1 tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla


Oatmeal Crust

2 large egg yolks

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 cup Hecker’s flour

2 cups oats

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1½ sticks unsalted butter

½ stick melted butter


Crème Filling

32 oz cream cheese, softened

8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened

2 tbsp ground cinnamon (1 tbsp separate)

4 oz pasteurized egg

2 tbsp condensed milk (not evaporated)

2 packets unflavored gelatin

½ cup Irish liquer

3 tbsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla



2 tbsp butter

1 lb bananas

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

3 tbsp whiskey

1 tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla


For Sauce:

In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, melt butter, add curry, and brown approximately 2 minutes. Carefully introduce in crushed pineapple (reserve juice) and stir. Add chili, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then reduce heat to medium-low. Pour in reserved juice, vanilla, water, sugars, and stir. Allow to cook and reduce stirring occasionally so the sugars do not burn. Once mixture has become a thick sauce, remove from heat allowing to cool.


For Crust:

In the mixing bowl, combine egg yolk and sugar. Cream together mixture and slowly add oats, flour, baking powder, and salt. Lastly, add cubed butter and allow the mixture to form dough. Do not overwork. Press onto prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F.

Once it is cool, break into crumbs that resemble sand. Add melted butter and press into pie pan to form crust. Heat in oven for 5 minutes and allow to cool completely and set aside.


For Topping:

In a skillet, melt butter and add sliced bananas. Sprinkle with sugar and toss. Remove from heat source, add whiskey, toss and return to heat. Allow alcohol to be cooked out. Allow to cool, add vanilla and mash with potato masher. Set aside.


For Filling:

In a food processor, combine first five ingredients. In a separate bowl, heat the Irish liqueur enough to dissolve gelatin in, but do not boil. Set food processor to blend and pour Irish Cream solution in, allow to become incorporated well. Blend until smooth.

Pour filling into prepared pie shell, add dollops of banana mixture randomly atop of filling and swirl. Place in refrigerator and allow to cool overnight (minimum 4 hours) until firm.

Evenly spread pineapple sauce on top layer and return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

And most importantly…enjoy!

Stay tuned!

Alumni are the apple of our…pie!

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

We promised you pies.  And we delivered. Apple pie. Vegan Pear Frangipane Tart. Pecan Delight. Pumpkin Pie. Banana Mascarpone Cream with a Curry Pineapple Compote. Toffee Sea Salt Pecan Chocolate Chip. Georgia Peach with Pecan Streusel. Apple Pie with Marble Crumb Topping. Gluten-free Almond Crème Pie.

We think we can safely say that pie night was a pie-normous success. But don’t take our word for it—check ’em out!

Pie contest

Many thanks to our wonderful alumni board for making the evening such a success, and to all of our competitors for making such delicious pies!

Did you miss this wonderful alumni event?

You’re in luck.

If you are a C-CAP alum, join us from 6-8 p.m. on December 1st for the C-CAP Alumni Holiday Dinner Party at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn for a three-course Indian feast, games, raffles, prizes—and a photo booth. What more could a person want?

Holiday invite copy

To attend, RSVP to Meghan Seradsky, C-CAP’s National College and Advisor and Alumni Coordinator, at


Stay tuned!

“Umm, did you say pie contest?” [Hint: we did.]

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Here at C-CAP, we believe in practice. And pies. And practice making pies. And our alumni. And Thanksgiving! Were you planning to make pies for Thanksgiving? Would you like to practice first? Are you a C-CAP alum? Would you like to share your practice pie with fellow alumni in a warm and convivial atmosphere while sampling other alumni’s practice pies? Did we mention you can win a prize for said pies?

Mmmm, pie copy


This Wednesday evening, November 12th, the Alumni Association is holding its Fall Meeting and First Annual Pie Contest at the C-CAP office, 505 8th Avenue, Suite #1400, New York City, where from 6:30-9:00 talented C-CAP alums will network, partake in lively discussion about “Defining Success,” and judge [read: eat lots of] pie! If you’re an alum, check out the details below and RSVP to Meghan Seradsky, National College Advisor and Alumni Coordinator at For all other C-CAP friends, be sure to follow our live posting of all ensuing deliciousness on our Instagram account, @ccapinc.

The details copy

So get out your pie tins, preheat your ovens and prepare to whip, beat, pulverize [insert your own ambiguously aggressive baking verb here] the competition (or watch from the safety of the social media sidelines). The pie’s the limit!


Stay tuned!

Marathons, Secret Recipes, Philly on Fire, and Dining with the Mayor in AZ: Four Ways to Support C-CAP this Week!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Just when you think things can’t get more interesting, we have a week like this one! Have you been waiting to support C-CAP in its 25th year of transforming lives through culinary arts? Well, this week we have four amazing chances for you to do just that!

C-CAP DC Alum and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy Runs the NYC Marathon for C-CAP

Because passing the Master Sommeliers exam (“hardest test in the world”) wasn’t quite hard enough, alum Carlton McCoy is running the NYC Marathon for C-CAP this Sunday, November 2nd! Show your support by contributing to his fundraising page, or making a poster and joining us to cheer him on! We couldn’t be prouder of this determined alum.

Carlton (1)



Dominique Ansel Launches His New Cookbook, The Secret Recipes, and Chooses C-CAP to Benefit from Proceeds

Have you been as obsessed with the cronut as the rest of us? Then you won’t hesitate to purchase this stunning new cookbook from Dominique Ansel in which he reveals his secret recipes—including how to make your own cronut at home! Purchase a personalized copy and $10 of the proceeds goes directly to C-CAP. Isn’t that a sweet way to contribute?

Dominique Ansel



C-CAP Philly Fires Up the Culinary Scene with Their Annual IGNITE Benefit

If you’ve been following us on Facebook or our blog, you’ll know that our Philadelphia program is on fire! Support this wonderful program by buying a ticket to IGNITE: Firing Up Tomorrow’s Chefs this Monday night, November 3rd at The Dorrance H. Hamilton Enterprise Center for Culinary Arts at 6pm. Guests will enjoy a walk-around tasting of culinary creations from some of Philadelphia’s best chefs, assisted by C-CAP students, while sipping superb wines and craft beer. With food from 12th Street Catering, Alla Spina, Blackfish, Brûlée Catering, Classic Cake, Ela, Evergreen Cheese, The Night Kitchen, Restaurant Cerise, and Sbraga, it’ll be the hottest event in town, and your support of C-CAP is guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Feast Under the Harvest Moon with C-CAP Arizona…and Mayor Stanton of Phoenix!

What’s that? You’ve never dined al fresco under the Harvest Moon with the mayor of Phoenix? Well, we recommend that you grab this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Buy your tickets today for this unique dining experience under a full moon in central Phoenix this Thursday, November 6th. Located in the gardens of the PHX Renews property, guests will enjoy a cocktail hour followed by a three-course dinner of local, seasonal cuisine prepared by some of Arizona’s up and coming chefs and C-CAP alumni with Arizona wine pairings. What a night to remember!

No matter which way you choose to support C-CAP this week, we are grateful to have you participate. Have an exciting week, and—

Stay tuned!

Sweet & Savory Spectacular Wows Los Angeles all to Benefit C-CAP: By special guest blogger, Lorri Wressell, Career Advisor and Event Planner, Los Angeles

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Ribbet collage

Taste Taste Taste – is the best way to describe C-CAP LA’s Sweet & Savory Spectacular this past Sunday, October 19th, at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles. From Bucato‘s focaccia to the legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs to the LUXE Hotel’s shrimp street food to Jonathan Club‘s crispy hand cut Ahi tuna, every dish was more divine than the next.

There could not be a more impressive array of culinary talent, assisted by our very own C-CAP students and grads, gathered for this event, including amazing  top LA restaurants Acabar, Angelini Osteria, Tavern, Jar, Chinois on Main, Connie and Ted’s and many more. Go to the S&SS Facebook Page for a full list of the star participants at, along with more fantastic photos at

The Sweet & Savory Spectacular had something for everyone including an exciting cooking challenge starring our own C-CAP alumni, wine “how to” classes, and a Tea “Ching” class. The enthusiasm of the crowd was matched only by that of the participants and volunteers who graced the event. Our “Spirit Garden” proved to be the place to see and be seen with beautiful wines, spirits and robust local brews, where the crowd enjoyed toasting our C-CAP high school students.

Guests also raved about the amazing auction with prizes such as “Magical nights in Laguna with Dinner for Six at Broadway by Amar Santana (YES a wildly successful C-CAP grad!), as well as dinners atlocal restaurants, classic and valuable cookbooks, a private wood fired dinner for you and your best friends prepared by celeb-chefs, and so much more.

A BIG THANK YOU to Eric Boardman, Andy Harris, Terrie Cooper, Ann Flower, Steven Yamin, Gloria Mandel, Dalia Miller and other LA Advisory Board Members who contributed enormously to the fabulous success of this benefit! And All proceeds go to our wonderful programs and scholarships benefitting our talented C-CAP students.

And, of course, President Susan Robbins gives a HUGE thank you to our amazing LA Staff – Mitzie Cutler, Lorri Wressell, Lisa Fontanesi and Susan Fine Moore – who organized this sweet and savory spectacular!

Read more and check out these pics at

Why Lunch is the Most Important Meal of the Day

Friday, October 17th, 2014


In the spring, we brought you this story from our Philadelphia program of C-CAP students from Randolph High School winning a competition to provide a healthy and tasty entrée for school lunches. (Don’t remember that post? Read it here.)

We promised we’d update you when their Soul Food Chicken Wrap made its way onto the trays of Philly highschoolers—and that day has come! Check out some of the amazing press on their fantastic achievement:

“Students Have a Voice in School Lunch, Too” from The Vetri Foundation

The Culinary Voice: Students Design Healthy New School Lunch Menus from FoodFitPhilly

The school lunch revolution is in full swing, not only in Philadelphia but in Boulder, Colorado as well! C-CAP alum Natalie Quinn of our Hampton Roads program is a production cook in the Boulder City School District. Check out the amazing things they are doing with school lunches in her district:

“I am a production cook for Boulder Valley. We currently have three kitchens that feed the entire 48-school district. The school I was at last year produced 2,500 meals a day for 17 schools. We cook as much from scratch as possible, sometimes thousands of potatoes at a time. We cook local, free-range chicken that is never frozen and receive our ground beef fresh as well. Both our chicken and beef are delivered in bulk plastic reusable containers that our supplier picks up and refills for us. All three production kitchens compost as well. This is part of our green initiative. I enjoy playing a vital role in improving childhood nutrition. This is my true passion and what I received my Bachelor’s degree in at Johnson & Wales. I have always been grateful for the opportunity that C-CAP gave me to pursue my education and I hope one day I will be able to make an impact in a students’ live as well.”

We’re pretty sure you already are, Natalie!

Are you a C-CAP alum having an effect on nutrition in schools? Let us know!

Don’t forget to eat lunch, and—

Stay tuned!

What could inspire you to run 26.2 miles?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

What could inspire you to run 26.2 miles?

For Carlton McCoy, it is C-CAP.

Carlton McCoy

Carlton’s first taste for the food industry was helping his grandmother cook for her catering business, housed in a local church in D.C. His neighborhood was noted for its high crime rate and Carlton explains that if he stayed there, his future did not look bright. Then came C-CAP. Carlton enrolled in a C-CAP class at Anacostia High School and worked his way to the C-CAP Final Competition where he won a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America.

Carlton found his passion in wine and service working with top chefs of impressive restaurants including Eric Zeibold’s CityZen, Doug Anderson at the Four Seasons in D.C., Per Se with Thomas Keller, Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit, and Tom Colicchio’s Craft Steak. In recent years, Carlton has been thrilling palates in Aspen at The Little Nell, where he has worked his way up to Wine Director. But that’s not all.

In 2013, 63 candidates took the qualifying exam for the Master Sommelier diploma (known as “the hardest test in the world”) — and Carlton was one of four to earn the rank, joining only 219 worldwide. At the age of 28, Carlton McCoy became one of the youngest Master Sommeliers in the world.

After acing the hardest test in the world, most of us would be resting on our laurels. So what is driving Carlton to jump into this next challenge?



In his own words:

“So for some insane reason I decided to run the NY Marathon this year. Don’t worry, I’m not doing this for myself. The thought of missing out on so many great bottles of wine in order to wake up and run until I’m sick does not sound like the way I’d prefer to spend my summer. But nonetheless, I am running—for an amazing charity.

I met Richard Grausman and C-CAP as a high school student with little to no direction and a one-way ticket to disaster. C-CAP gave me an amazing opportunity and most importantly…. a big check for college! Without C-CAP, I would never have been able to accomplish what I have. For this, I’m forever indebted.

C-CAP has contributed millions of dollars to inner city kids like myself with great potential and no means. I ask you all to donate whatever you can to help more kids like myself to live up to their true potential…oh and please pray that I finish this race!  Thanks.”

Carlton, Richard and Susan

Most of us will never run a marathon. But we all have the ability to support Carlton as he runs for C-CAP! Visit this link to make a donation or leave him some words of encouragement. If you’re in New York on November 2nd, join us along the course as we cheer him on.

And, as always, don’t forget to—

Stay tuned!

Feeling grey? Here’s a little sunshine from C-CAP!

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Sunshine State alums

Temperatures are dropping and the grey days are upon us. A perfect time for C-CAP grads working in the Sunshine State to send their sunny news and thoughts our way!


Tim Yoa

Senior Sous Chef, Waldorf Astoria, Naples FL

Art Institute of Philadelphia

C-CAP Philadelphia

“After 8 years working in Philadelphia, I moved with my wife to Southwest Florida to be the Senior Sous Chef at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Florida. I may not have gotten started if it weren’t for C-CAP Philadelphia. Along with winning a $34,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Philadelphia, the program found me an internship that eventually led to my first job at Philadelphia Fish & Co. and opened the door for me to excel at what I love.”


Kenny Presume

Line Cook, Hot & Soul

Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

C-CAP Philadelphia

Kenny is rounding out a year and a half at Ft. Lauderdale’s “trailblazing” Hot & Soul, making food the Sun Sentinel describes as “divine” and “extraordinary.”

“C-CAP gave me the necessary skills to stand above my classmates when I first started at the Art Institute and is the reason I am working in the restaurant industry.”


David Wiley

Visiting Instructor, Florida International University in Tianjin, China

Lecturer at Institute for Tourism Studies in China


C-CAP Chicago

David is also based in Florida—via China!

“I just finished my fourth and final semester as a visiting instructor with Florida International University in Tianjin, China. I taught Food Production Management and International Baking, Confections, and Desserts. I also finished my Masters degree last summer.”


Danielle Thomas

Narcoossee, The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney World

Le Cordon Bleu Chicago

C-CAP Chicago

Danielle went to work at Disney World to make her dreams come true and by gosh, is she accomplishing it! After working at the Old Key West Resort, last year she received a promotion and a transfer to Disney’s signature restaurant, Narcoossee, at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Along the way, she has been helping other C-CAP alums to settle in as they come for externships, says C-CAP Chicago Coordinator Nicola Copeland.

“C-CAP has been a huge help and a big part of the reason that I am where I am today. One day I hope to give back to the company who gave so many chances to me.”


Roberto Vasquez

Chef Manager, Compass Group, Florida

Baltimore International College

C-CAP New York

Roberto is celebrating a decade of working with Compass Group! Having worked in New York and Baltimore, he is now based in Florida where he is Chef Manager of a Compass Group account at a preparatory school.

Stay tuned!

The chance to serve a good cause and work alongside your idols? These C-CAP LA students said YES.

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Stef Kelly and Crew

It’s not every day that celebrated chef Suzanne Goin calls you up and offers your students the chance to work with top chefs at one of LA’s hottest culinary events. Then again, with the mark C-CAPPERS are making on the LA culinary landscape, we’re grateful, but not too surprised!

Last weekend marked the 5th annual LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Hosted by Chef Suzanne Goin with her business partner Caroline Styne (The Lucques Group), and Chef David Lentz of The Hungry Cat, it gathers together some of LA’s and the nation’s finest chefs, mixologists and vintners to earn money for this great cause. 21 C-CAP students were there to assist, serving food and learning lessons that will last a lifetime.Check out the list of talented chefs our students were helping!

LA Chefs

Stefanie Kelly, C-CAP LA instructor who brought 8 students, had this to say: “What an amazing day! The feedback from the kids was epic—they tried all sorts of new foods: oysters, live uni and octopus!”

David, Ben, David and students

Giada, Chris, Isabel, Ludo

Recent Glendale High School graduate and C-CAP scholarship winner Jacob Funaro was excited to share his experience:

“It was amazing. I got to work with the chefs from Craft Restaurant and they let me plate all their food for the event and even are working on letting me stage there. Then, at the end of the event, I went to talk with John Besh because he is a Culinary Institute of America alum and I will be starting in March, and he was so excited and proud for me. And then I talked to Chef Michael Anthony because I want to win a Michelin star like him, and he gave me so much advice on becoming a chef. He said, “You’re going to CIA, right?” and I say yes and he goes, “Here’s my business card; when you need a externship call me,” and I thought that was the end of the conversation—but then he said, “Do you want my book?” and I say, “Yes, please!” and he signed it and said, “I hope this makes you a better chef.” I had a great time at this event!”

Jacob Funaro and Awesome Chefs

C-CAP had a very visible presence—even Chef Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco wore a C-CAP hat! “I gave it to him since he said he would wear it in his restaurant!” says Lorri Wressell, C-CAP LA’s Career Advisor and Event Planner.

Chris Bianco in C-CAP hat

Big thanks to Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne for including C-CAP in this exciting event! Check out more amazing pictures of our students here!

Are you based in LA? Mark your calendars, because we have more great chances coming up to see C-CAP students in action and support our great cause!

Buy your tickets now for next week’s exciting sneak peek at Neal Fraser’s newest venture Redbird (October 2 at 6 p.m.)! Join C-CAP LA for The Official preview event at Chef Neal Fraser’s much-anticipated restaurant located in the rectory of Vibiana Cathedral downtown. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 818-756-1260.

Then join us on October 19th for C-CAP’s Sweet and Savory Spectacular, co-hosted by Chef Suzanne Goin and longtime C-CAP supporter Pastry Chef Sherry Yard.Guests will enjoy a craft beer, premium wine, & spirits garden along with a myriad of Sweet & Savory tastings from 40 of Los Angeles’ top chefs including Michael Cimarusti, Duff Goldman, and Jet Tila, pastry chefs including honorary chair Sherry Yard, coffee and tea purveyors, and other specialty vendors; classes/demonstrations from recognized experts in their fields; the “Sweet & Savory Challenge” where C-CAP graduate chefs will compete using a mystery basket of mandatory ingredients and a specific time limit; and an exciting Silent Auction with one-of-a-kind items. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 818-756-1260. Special discounted tickets if you attend both events!

Then clear your TV schedule for January when you can watch C-CAP alums Executive Chef Dustin Trani’s restaurant DOMA and Mixologist Devon Espinosa’s The Church Key as they compete for best new restaurant in LA on this new Bravo show!

What an exciting social calendar you are about to have! Look forward to seeing you and—

Stay tuned!


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