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!

Inaugural D.C. C-CAP Benefit

Friday, September 19th, 2014

This past Monday night, September 15th, will go down in C-CAP history as a night to remember—C-CAP’s inaugural Washington, D.C. benefit honoring Richard Sandoval, an extraordinary chef who has proved an incredible mentor and a shining example to young culinarians everywhere.

We saw friends old and new, and sampled glorious food from some of D.C.’s hottest chefs—Richard Sandoval of Zengo, Toro Toro, and Masa 14, Haidar Karoum,of Proof, Estadio & Doi Moi, Kazuhiro Okochi of Kaz Sushi Bistro and Masa 14, Roberto Donna of Al Dente and Alba Osteria, and Michel Richard of Central. Guests were also treated to hors d’oeuvres from Troy Williams, C-CAP’s Washington, D.C. Region Culinary Coordinator and owner of The Spot On H, and C-CAP Alum Franz Corrales, Executive Chef for Sodexo USA at Covington & Burling LLP. And a big shout out to Josh Carin from Geppetto Catering, who did a stellar job helping us coordinate this event.

Joy. Elegance. Warmth. Generosity. Great food. Bright futures. Check it all out in the pictures below!

 From left to right:   Back row: William Hoover*, 2011 Scholarship recipient of the Art Institute of D.C., now a Line Cook at DECANTER in The St. Regis Hotel; Troy Williams, Washington, D.C. Region C-CAP Culinary Coordinator; Ian Barthley, local teacher with the C-CAP program for 14 years; Yvette Williams, Washington, D.C. Region C-CAP Program Coordinator   Front Row: Muriel Homesack, local culinary teacher whose students have received scholarships to attend Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University and Monroe College; Basia Davis*, 2009 Scholarship recipient of the Johnson and Wales University, now Manager at THE SPOT ON H; Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder and Chairman; Susan Robbins, C-CAP President; Niasia Van DeCruze*, 2014 Scholarship recipient of the Art Institute of D.C, participated in Job Training at ESTADIO with Chef Haider Karoum *C-CAP Alum

From left to right:
Back row: William Hoover*, 2011 Scholarship recipient of the Art Institute of D.C., now a Line Cook at DECANTER in The St. Regis Hotel; Troy Williams, Washington, D.C. Region C-CAP Culinary Coordinator; Ian Barthley, local teacher with the C-CAP program for 14 years; Yvette Williams, Washington, D.C. Region C-CAP Program Coordinator
Front Row: Muriel Homesack, local culinary teacher whose students have received scholarships to attend Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University and Monroe College; Basia Davis*, 2009 Scholarship recipient of the Johnson and Wales University, now Manager at THE SPOT ON H; Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder and Chairman; Susan Robbins, C-CAP President; Niasia Van DeCruze*, 2014 Scholarship recipient of the Art Institute of D.C, participated in Job Training at ESTADIO with Chef Haider Karoum
*C-CAP Alum


Many thanks to our amazing Chair of this event and outstanding C-CAP Board Member, Sandi Hallmark, who created this spectacular evening. We are so proud and grateful to our alumni, Franz Corrales who prepared delicious hors d’oeuvres, Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Wine Director at Little Nell, who selected the wine pairings, and Jocko Fajardo, who donated the spectacular floral arrangements and the guest giveaways of artisanal honey and olive oil. We are also so grateful to our wonderful donors: Béarnaise, Brasserie Beck, Cashion’s Eat Place, Cava Mezze, Charmer Sunbelt, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Fiola, Geppetto Catering, Graffiato, Nopa, Panorama Bakery, Passion Food Hospitality, Perfect Settings, Ripple, and Zaytinya.

Donors collage

Last, but not least, thank you to our supporters who shared this beautiful evening with us. May it be the first of many!

Stay tuned!

Time for a Taste…of Phoenix!

Friday, September 12th, 2014

James Beard Foundation. C-CAP Students Assisting World Renowned Chefs. Live Auctions. Friday night. These are a few of our favorite things! And luckily, they are all coming together at the James Beard Foundation’s Taste Phoenix!


This spectacular event on September 12th will begin with a Cocktail and Tasting Reception at 7:00 with tastings by Charleen Badman of FnB, Cullen Campbell of Crudo, Silvana Salcido Espearza of Barrio Café, Joshua Hebertof Posh, and Gio Osso of Virtu. At 8:00, guests will be treated to a four-course seated dinner featuring the creations of Sherry Yard, Kevin Binkley and Paul McCabe. Also in attendance will bepast James Beard Award Winners for “Best Chef Southwest”: Nobuo Fukuda, Christopher Gross, Robert McGrath, and Janos Wilder.

Look out for 17 current C-CAP students in chef whites assisting the chefs throughout the evening. Then during the Live Auction, don’t miss your chance to bid on C-CAP’s stellar New York Getaway package: Dinner for Two at Betony, a stay at the Loews Regency Hotel, dinner for two and a hotel kitchen and rooftop garden tour at the Waldorf Astoria, and two VIP tickets to the C-CAP Annual Benefit! The best part? All proceeds from this item will go to C-CAP!

Many thanks to our friends at James Beard Foundation for including C-CAP in this wonderful event. We’re so grateful for this taste of generosity!


Now that you’re in the mood for adventures in Arizona, it is not too soon to get your tickets for C-CAP’s Harvest Moon Dinner on November 6th! With an hors d’oeuvres reception by C-CAP students and teachers and a three-course dinner by three illustrious C-CAP alumni, it’s sure to be delicious. The Mayor of Phoenix will be there—so should you!

Stay tuned!



C-CAP & Avero: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship!

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

At C-CAP, we’re always looking to help our students achieve their potential, offering opportunities to learn and the tools to succeed.

At Avero, they’re always looking to help their clients achieve their potential, offering opportunities to learn, and the tools to succeed.

Kindred spirits? We certainly thought so!

This spring and summer, C-CAP was so fortunate to partner with Avero to give two high school students an externship, and one alumna a Restaurant Education Experience with their talented and knowledgeable team!

Avero is a sophisticated restaurant analytics platform that can help restaurants, hotels, casinos and nightclubs maximize efficiency and profitability by providing analytics and advising.

C-CAP students were handpicked for this experience; for high school seniors Sofia Mendoza and Robert Guarneri, it was based on their participation and accomplishments through C-CAP as well as their strong applications. For alumna Gabee Calle, it was her essay and her interview that convinced Avero she would be a prime candidate to benefit from the experience. And benefit they all did! Check out these itineraries from Avero’s own blog, reporting on these stellar experiences:

“Over the course of the two-day externship, Sofia and Robert participated in various sessions with Avero team members. The goal was to teach them about the latest trends in technology and the future of the restaurant industry and create a dialogue for the two students to ask questions and learn about the “business behind the business.” They learned about Avero’s restaurant software and also about the various other ways that the most progressive chefs and restaurateurs use technology to be successful influencers in this competitive landscape. And, in true Avero style, the students had the opportunity to network with the Avero staff, discuss their career in f&b and (of course) dine at some of the city’s finest establishments including Gramercy Tavern, Tertulia and Gotham West Market.”

Sofia, Robert, and Avero

(Click here to read the full post and see more fantastic pictures of Sofia and Robert with the Avero team.)

“The award recipients, along with their mentors, navigated New York City for a three-day educational immersion into the food and beverage industry. The students met and learned from leading chefs, managers and restaurateurs while experiencing some of the city’s most prominent dining trends. There was lively discussion about f&b trends as well as technology’s role in the industry combined with unique dining experiences, behind-the-scenes tours of some of NYC’s busiest kitchens such as The Smith and The NoMad, a tour of the Union Square Greenmarket, a tour and dine-around in Gotham West Market and Eataly, a private tour of Brooklyn Brewery, dinner at Brooklyn’s Reynard in The Wythe Hotel – even bowling with upscale bar snacks and a concert at Brooklyn Bowl! The tour concluded with an amazing wine dinner at Betony with Avero’s CEO and Founder, Damian Mogavero.”

Gabee, Richard, and Avero

(Click here to read the full post with pictures from Gabee’s adventures with Avero.)

Some of the major takeaways?

For Gabee, it was realizing how interconnected Avero is within the industry—she realized that most chefs and restaurants she knew and had worked with were connected to Avero and used their products.

For Robert, it was learning about restaurant trends—how they’re constantly shifting and how Avero is aware of these shifts. He also and realized that he now has an interest in learning about every aspect of the industry, not just what goes on in the kitchen.

For all three, it was the mentorship and personalized learning they received during their time with the Avero team.

Ultimately, our students got a taste of what makes Avero so revered in the industry: passion for what they do, superlative know-how, and a genuine interest in helping their clients—and C-CAP alumni—take the next step in achieving their goals.

Avero, we’re so thankful for your investment in our leaders of tomorrow.


Stay tuned!


Guess! This! Alum! C-CAP Throwback Thursday #tbt

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

NY Competition '00 001 C-CAP NY Competitors, 2000. Do you recognize today’s mystery alum? Or any other talented chefs?


C-CAP alumni certainly have made their mark on the world. In honor of our 25th Anniversary and Throwback Thursday, we offer you a story from 2005 of a young man just beginning—who has since accomplished great things! Can you guess from these hints which C-CAP alum is described in the article below?

• Barely spoke English when he started at Long Island City High School after moving with his family from the Dominican Republic.

• He was the first of his family to graduate high school (and then college).

• He joined teacher Terry Matsis’ C-CAP class as a sophomore.

• Through C-CAP, he was awarded a two-week trip to Le Cordon Bleu in London, and then a full tuition scholarship to Culinary Institute of America.

• He worked for Charlie Palmer as a Sous Chef and later as an Executive Chef.

• He’s a California boy now, but he references his NY roots by including “Broadway” in his Orange County restaurant’s name.

Can you guess?

To find out, read the 2005 ABC Nightline article here!

And then read what the same alum is up to now!

There are so many amazing stories in this class and every class. Did you know another of the alums pictured here was the Executive Chef of the FDIC Arlington and cooked on Capital Hill? Did you know that one of these alums competed on Chopped—and won? Do recognize yourself or someone else in this picture? We want to hear your story, too! Share it with us on Facebook or email us at

You know what? 25 years of transforming lives through culinary arts provides a lot of good memories…

Stay tuned!

$20,000 for C-CAP? Coming Right Up!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Are you in LA? Do you like great food? Are you a fan of C-CAP? On August 21 at 8:00PM, live from the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, Chefs Graham Elliot and Ben Ford will compete for C-CAP to the tune of $20,000! You won’t want to miss this historic event!

Presenting TEAM FORD-ELLIOT, valiant champions of C-CAP!

Team FordElliot

The Sponsors:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® in partnership with FOOD & WINE

The Challenge:

The first-ever Chase Sapphire Preferred Chef Challenge to create an iconic Los Angeles dish

The Competitors:

Chefs Graham Elliot and Ben Ford (Team Ford-Elliot), playing for C-CAP

Chefs Fabio Vivianiand Ray Garcia (Team Viviani-Garcia), playing for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

The Emcee:

Culinary Host Billy Harris

The Judges:

Christina Grdovic (senior vice president and publisher at FOOD & WINE)

David Bernahl (CEO at Coastal Luxury Management)

Justin Chapple (test kitchen senior editor at FOOD & WINE)

The Venue:

Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, a four-day festival from August 21–24, that will showcase the finest in food and drink culture throughout Los Angeles, together with culinary personalities from around the country. The festival includes food and wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, live entertainment and more. The competition will take place during the Ultimate Bites of LA walk-around tasting.

The Prizes:

$20,000 for the winning team’s charity

$5,000 for the runner up team’s charity

The Quote:

“If once in a while I can compete against my colleagues for a good cause, it gives me a sense of enjoyment. I learn something new every time,” Elliot said. “It is a fun platform that allows folks to enjoy a bit of friendly competition while serving fantastic and important causes, like C-CAP and L.A. Regional Food Bank. Nothing more important than giving back when given the opportunity.” (To read the full article on this fantastic event, click here!)

Your mission should you choose to accept it:

Buy tickets, send a shout out to the LA Food & Wine Festival on Twitter, cross your fingers, think lovely thoughts, and—

Stay tuned!

A Year in Pictures

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Schools are starting all over the country, and as we prepare to begin the new school year, we cannot help but look back fondly on the year that has passed. Here, in pictures, is a tribute to this last year at C-CAP. May the next one be just as wonderful—stay tuned!

Stay tuned!

C-CAP 2013-2014123456

Because Kitchens without Students are like Summers without…

Thursday, August 7th, 2014



It’s not just job training that C-CAP students are up to this summer. Check out these cool programs that keep C-CAP students learning all year round!

Photo Credit: Matt Witt

Photo Credit: Matt Witt

Aramark team members at the University of Chicago recently conducted an annual week-long culinary camp with Chicago Public School High School students enrolled in the C-CAP Program. Members from a wide array of Aramark at the University of Chicago’s leadership team joined forces to create a culinary-centered curriculum that would be impactful, educational, and engaging for this year’s participants.

This year’s camp included a welcome BBQ for over 30 students and their families followed by an impactful week of hands on experience preparing lunch for summer conference attendees at Arley D. Cathey Dining Commons. Students worked with various members of the Aramark team including our onsite Registered Dietitian and onsite Director of Safety and Sanitation to learn vital aspects of working in the kitchen with safety as a top priority. The highlight of the camp was when students were given $25 to spend at a local farmer’s market. Afterwards, the students broke out into four teams, and under the guidance of Chef Eddie Nagy, Chef Algis Paulius and Chef Peter Maccaro, held a highly energetic cooking competition. The experiences gained from this program granted the Aramark team the privilege to further ignite the passion these students possess for the culinary arts.“ —Sophia Bamiatzis, Aramark Marketing Manager, Higher Education, University of Chicago

ccap team with border

Photo Credit: Matt Witt

Many thanks for Aramark for providing such an illuminating experience for our C-CAP Chicago students!

This Monday, 16 C-CAP students from six C-CAP locations will descend on Monroe College campus en masse for Monroe College Boot Camp!

Says C-CAP NY Culinary Coordinator Alex Olsen, “Monroe Boot Camp is a three-day program, taking place during the summer break, in which high school students learn the dynamics of a professional kitchen and get a glimpse of what it’s like to attend a postsecondary culinary program. This program offers three-night residential stay giving students the experience of living in a dorm. The program runs from 9 AM to 5 PM during which students engage in cooking, cleaning, and discussions of ingredients, dishes, and culinary techniques.”

Check out the story in the press here and read about last year’s boot camp here! And as always—


Stay tuned!

Why C-CAP Teens Are Not the 21%

Friday, August 1st, 2014

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While the unemployment rate for the nation as a whole hovers at 6.1%, for teenagers 16-19, that rate is a whopping 21%.

But not for C-CAP teens.

Each summer, C-CAP is doing its part to combat joblessness by bringing Job Training and paid internships to teenagers across the country. This year with C-CAP by their side, over 130 young people in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and the greater Washington D.C. area refused to become part of that statistic.


And you know what? We’re pretty proud.

Read the feature on C-CAP’s Job Training program in the Wall Street Journal.

Catch a glimpse of C-CAP students across the country hard at work in Job Training.

Big thank you to everyone who helped get these kids in kitchens!


Stay tuned!

Can You Guess What These Stories Have in Common? Derek Jeter’s Birthday Cake, a Farm-to-Table Legacy Award, Meatless Wonders, Cooking at the Library, and Upcoming D.C. Culinary Hotspots

Monday, July 28th, 2014

If you guessed C-CAP, you’re right! Here are a just a few of the ways C-CAP has been in the news this past month!

EMM Group Executive Pastry Chef and C-CAP Alum Thiago Silva Builds a Custom Cake for Derek Jeter’s Birthday—and is featured on Page Six of the Post!

Chef Thiago Silva with his cake for Derek Jeter (1)

C-CAP’s own Meghan Seradsky, National College Advisor and Alumni Coordinator, has been honored with a Legacy Award from Les Dames d’Escoffier for a hand-on workplace experience in farm-to-table in Atlanta, GA. Meghan is hoping to learn about biodiversity, maintaining soil quality and the cultivation of organic produce among other skills—and then bringing it all back to share with our students!

The blog Prevention just featured this Pasta Frittata recipe from C-CAP/Meatless Monday recipe contest winner Briana Bernardez of the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)! Registered Dietician and contest judge Diana K. Rice says, “Her pasta frittata wowed us, and we hope you’ll love it, too!”

Pasta Frittata by Briana Bernardez (1)

The Free Library of Philadelphia is tackling culinary literacy with a brand new teaching kitchen and they’ve invited C-CAP, Chef Jose Garces, and the Vetri Foundation to partner with them in using culinary to make a difference in the lives of underserved populations.

In D.C., C-CAP Culinary Coordinator Chef Troy Williams and Program Coordinator Yvette Williams have not one, but two new dining ventures set to open in the coming months. The Spot Deli will open this fall, while fine-dining restaurant The Spot on H will open early next year. Both will be used as a training ground for C-CAP students!

Chef Troy Williams with C-CAP student (1)

What will C-CAP get up to next month? For answers to this question and many more—


Stay tuned!


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