C-CAP Chicago shows its stuff!

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

By C-CAP Guest blogger Nicola Copeland, Chicago Program Coordinator

This last week C-CAP Chicago 2016 Scholarship Finalists participated in the International Home and Housewares Show in partnership with Harold Import Company. For the last 9 years (with the help of Christopher Williams, 2006 C-CAP Alumni and his mother Stephanie McBlackwell), Chicago finalists and program alumni have demoed omelets, pasta and stir-fry’s featuring recipes from Chef Helen Chen and smallwares from the Harold Import Company product line.

UntitledL to R: Daneka Kelley, Dechant Kemp, Jennifer Ramirez, Francisco Santiago, Christopher Williams (back), Unique Parker

The finalists had a great time sharing their culinary and education goals with the show’s attendees, wowing them with their French Omelet skills and sharing how C-CAP has changed their lives!

UntitledL to R: Devlon James, Josephine Dyer (Harold Import Company), Chloe Gould, Symphony Palmore

Stay tuned!

The Blue Story of the Green Holiday

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Guest Poster: Eliza Loehr, C-CAP’s Office Manager

When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, I think of green tinted beer and bagels, corned beef and cabbage, and parades. But are these things Irish? Not quite. The history of this divide begins with the infamous Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s. While the Irish were producing tons of food for their neighboring country, their own access to food was extremely limited. Over the course of just six years of the famine, at least 1 million Irish people died. This is in a country with a population of under 5 million today. Another 1.5 to 2 million were forced to flee, and a large portion of them ended up in the United States. Unfortunately, those that stayed behind were forced to turn to desperate measures in order to survive. “People were so deprived of food that they resorted to eating grass,” Irish historian Christine Kinealy explained to NPR’s The Salt. “In Irish folk memory, they talk about people’s mouths being green as they died.” It’s not hard to imagine why the image of green-tinged mouths that come from green-dyed cookies and beer may make some Irish cringe.

Green tinted food, however, is not the only St. Patrick’s day tradition that doesn’t quite hail from the motherland. Corned beef and cabbage only became popular among the Irish once those who landed in NYC picked up the flavors from Jewish cuisine.

As more and more American tourists have made their way over to the Emerald Isle for the holiday, the Irish-American traditions have followed. Many pubs in Ireland will now serve the green tinted beer and corned beef and cabbage so dear to the hearts of stateside St. Patrick’s day lovers.

For a more authentic holiday, we’ve included a true Irish Lamb Stew recipe that is simple to create and absolutely delicious.

Irish Lamb Stew
Serves 6-8
In this recipe, lamb shoulder is simmered and then slowly baked to produce perfect, falling apart pieces. Aromatic herbs and mirepoix give the stew a great depth of flavor and sweetness.

3 lb. boneless lamb stew meat (preferably from the neck and shoulder), cut into 1″ pieces
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 lb. russet or red potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into thirds
2 tbsp. parsley – roughly chopped
4 carrots, halved crosswise and then cut into large pieces
3 parsnips, halved crosswise and then cut into large pieces
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1⁄2 cups fresh or frozen peas
2 cups stock (beef or lamb preferable) or water

Heat oven to 250°. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high until the oil is dancing in the pan. While you wait for the pan to heat up, toss the lamb in salt and pepper. Once hot, add the lamb to the pan and brown on all sides.


Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add the carrots, parsnips, onions, salt, pepper. Sauté the vegetables until slightly soft then transfer to an 8-qt. Dutch oven along with the lamb.


Add the potatoes to the pot along with 2 cups of stock or water and bring to a simmer. Transfer to oven and bake, covered, until lamb is just tender, about 2 hours. Stir in peas; continue to bake, covered, until lamb is very tender, about 30 minutes more. Let sit 20 minutes before serving. Add parsley just before serving.



Pressure Cooker and Competition Season

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

It’s that time of year again…C-CAP students across the country are working diligently to prepare for the final round of our Competition for Scholarships.

From now until the end of May, students in all seven C-CAP locations will be perfecting their knife cuts, honing their tourne skills and practicing their recipes in hopes of winning a coveted scholarship to continue their culinary education. The competition is fierce, but our students are up for the challenge!

Ever since Pressure Cooker was released in 2008, C-CAP teachers have been showing the film to their students at the beginning of each year, to motivate them and give them a roadmap for success in the competitions for scholarships. Students and alumni tell us that seeing the film, which was directed by Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker, makes them understand that they are in similar circumstances. They say: “I am like the students in the film and I can do it too.” Knowing what you have to do to succeed in the demanding competitions gives many students the confidence to enter.

What a thrill it was for Jennifer and Mark to be invited to screen their film for an international audience at last year’s Expo Milan in Milan, Italy, whose theme was Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. And it was a special honor for the film’s screening to coincide with the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry.

Pressure Cooker Collage

Leave it to our founder, Richard Grausman, not to miss an opportunity to spread the word about C-CAP. Richard joined the directors of the film to participate in a Q&A after the screening. Jennifer and Richard also spoke to visitors at the US Pavilion the next day about C-CAP and how this U.S program, since its founding, has affected the lives of over two hundred thousand high school students across the country.

For more advice and inspiration for students going into competition, check out last year’s blog post here with words of wisdom from past scholarship recipients.

An End to Rubber Chicken Events!

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Guest blogger: Eliza Loehr, C-CAP’s Office Manager

The windowless ballroom filled with hundreds of bored executives pushing their too-firm-to-cut chicken breast around on their plate…we’ve all been there. From a kitchen perspective, we get it. It’s nearly impossible to churn out hundreds of the same dish and keep them all fresh, hot and delicious. So why do it? We know that our supporters care about good food and having a good time, so we’ve invited 43 of New York City’s finest chefs to come to beautiful Pier Sixty and show off their best dishes at this walk-around event that has been called the best food event in New York. This year will be a fabulous evening, starting with a chef list that will make you drool (see below). Our illustrious honoree is chef, restaurateur and author Daniel Humm, of Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad. His elegant cuisine has received some of the highest praise there is, including three Michelin stars, a Zagat rating of 28 and a no. 5 rank in the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant list!

Our live and silent auctions are amazing this year. We will be auctioning off a unique tasting dinner for 32 prepared by Chef Daniel Humm (EMP and The NoMad), Chef Chris Flint (EMP), Chef James Kent (The NoMad), Chef Bryce Shuman (Betony), Chef Lee Wolen (Boka), Chef Abram Bissell (The Modern) and Chef Mark Welker (EMP and The NoMad), paired with fine wines in the private room at Eleven Madison Park. We’ll give you a second to let that sink in…

Next up, our Board Co-Chair and beloved internationally acclaimed chef, restaurateur and author Marcus Samuelsson will be cooking an incredible private dinner for you and thirteen guests in your home! For our travel-loving guests, we’re offering an extravagant trip to Switzerland, curated by Chef Daniel Humm, and a premier trip to India’s famous Taj Resorts and Hotelswww.tajhotels.com. For the true culinarians, a lucky couple will have the chance to share a meal at Café Boulud with the legendary Jacques Pepin prepared by C-CAP alum Executive Sous Chef Cesar Gutierrez and Executive Chef Aaron Bludorn.

The C-CAP Benefit is open to the public but is filling up very quickly! Click here for tickets. For more information visit www.ccapinc.org or call 212-974-7111. Read on for our unbelievable chef list!

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 9.38.27 AM


Kudos to Kajitsu’s Kaiseki Cuisine

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

By guest blogger: Jill Turner Lloyd, C-CAP’s Director of Development

The new year brings a renewed commitment to health and fitness, but once we get to February 9th, a.k.a. “the fitness cliff” so many people lose focus. Well, I took it upon myself to re-focus my attention on healthy eating on February 10th when I had the good fortune of attending a fundraising evening hosted by the C-CAP Junior Board at Kajitsu. Kajitsu Executive Chef, Hiroki Odo (who happens to be a Michelin-starred chef) provided a Kaiseki Tasting Dinner that was a feast for the senses.


Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The style of cuisine is derived from cha-kaiseki cuisine, which is a simple meal that the host of a tea ceremony serves to guests before a ceremonial tea. The eight-course vegetarian meal was not at all simple in my book. It was incredible and introduced me to kanpyo, mitsuba, konnyaku, mizuna, kurochichimi and so many other ingredients. The experience certainly piqued my interest in this flavorful, aromatic and beautiful Japanese cuisine that is prepared using the freshest seasonal ingredients.


While enjoying the sumptuous courses, I was also sipping sakes generously donated from the Hakkaisan Sake Brewery that had been paired with the courses by Sake Samurai Timothy Sullivan. The Hakkaisan Brewery is situated at the foot of Mount Hakkai in Niigata, and the spring water that flows from the mountain is used to produce the sake. The Brewery produces in small batches, using water, yeast, sake rise and koji.


Our group was served four kinds of sake: Tokubetsu Junmai; Junmai Ginjo; Tokubetsu Honjozo; and Sparkling Nigori. Our knowledgeable Sake Samurai, Timothy Sullivan, explained each sake pairing to the group, and helpfully floated around each table throughout the night to answer any and all questions we had about sake. I learned to look for four things: rice milling percentage; acidity; alcohol content; and sake meter value, which denotes sweetness or dryness (higher is drier and less sweet). Who knew that this “drink of the gods” could be so delicious and so varied! By the way, our guests who enjoyed the very generous pours are reporting that they do not have a headache the next day!

The folks at Korin helped make this fabulous tasting happen, and donated generous gift cards to each guest and an incredible knife to a lucky raffle winner. I am really grateful that I had this wonderful experience with such a lively, fun group of people! Don’t believe me? Check out the photos from the evening!


Stay tuned…

The Perfect Recipe for a Sweet Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Guest blogger: Lorri Wressell, C-CAP LA’s Career Advisor and Event Planner and her husband, Donald Wressell, Executive Pastry Chef at Guittard Chocolate Company

With our 25th Wedding Anniversary this year, I asked the most handsome pastry chef hubs for a Valentine’s Day recipe to share with all of you!  The best part of being married that long has been…yes…the kisses!! Do I mean Guittard Chocolate ones? I’ll never tell… But seriously, anyone who has a chef spouse knows it’s the food that keeps you together! Guittard has been donating chocolate to all C-CAP schools across the country for 20 years and C-CAP loves them for this.

Valentine's Recipe Blog Post Collage

Fifth-generation Amy Guittard has written a love story of sorts to her family’s business. Simply called Guittard Chocolate Cookbook, it contains recipes from both the Guittard family and from Donald. This  “true love” chocolate tart is not too sweet and has a perfect smooth and decadent texture.  A romantic dessert to make and enjoy together!!


The filling of this tart is a classic chocolate ganache to which you add one egg. The egg sets the chocolate but the texture is so luscious—dense, velvety, and yet sophisticated—you’ll find that you turn to this recipe whenever you need to bring a dessert to any kind of gathering.

You fully bake the sweet dough shell and let it cool before pouring in the filling, and then bake the tart in a low oven—just 200ºF [95ºC]. You can watch as the transformation takes place. The filling lifts just slightly as it bakes. I think of this tart as elevated ganache set on a perfect platform.


1 ½ cups [225 g] Guittard Milk Chocolate Baking Wafers

3 cups [720 ml] heavy whipping cream

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1 Tbsp honey

½ cup [75g] malted milk powder


¾ cup [90 g] almond flour

1 cup [120 g] pastry flour

½ cup [50 g] Guittard Cocoa Rouge (Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder)

Pinch of salt

1 cup [220 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup [130 g] granulated sugar

5 egg yolks


2 ripe bananas

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 vanilla bean (see Note: Using Vanilla Beans, page 114)

Juice from 1 orange

1/3 cup [70 g] raw or turbinado sugar


1 1/3 cups [200 g] Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Wafers

3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp whole milk

2/3 cup [80 ml] heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg


To make the milk chocolate chantilly: Place the milk chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup [240 ml] of the cream, the corn syrup, honey, and malted mile powder and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour the hot cream mixture over the milk chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups [480 ml] cream and whisk until just combined. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

To make the tart shell: In a small bowl, sift together the almond flour, pastry flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 days.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF [165ºC]. Set aside a 9-in [23-cm] tart pan.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 10-in [25-cm] round, dusting with more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. If the dough gets too sticky, put it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and add more flour to the your work surface. Roll the round of the dough onto the rolling pin and carefully unroll the dough onto the tart pan. Press the dough down into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Using a fork, poke holes into the dough to keep it from puffing up too much while baking.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the dough is puffed and slightly set around the edges. It will still look a little doughy in the center, but it will set as it cools. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the roasted banana marmalade: Raise the oven temperature to 400º [200ºC].

Peel and cut the bananas into chunks and place the banana pieces and butter in an 8-by-11-in [20-by-28-cm] baking dish. Put the vanilla bean seeds and pod, orange juice, and raw sugar in the baking dish. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring as needed.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the mixture and discard. Pour the rest of the mixture into the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

To make the filling: Place the bittersweet chocolate wafers in a medium heatproof bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. Pour the milk mixture over the chocolate and let set for 5 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture, butter , and egg into a blender and blend until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 200ºF [95ºC]

Pour the banana marmalade into the cooked tart shell, spreading it to the edges. Top with the chocolate filling, also spreading it to the edges.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is set. Let cool at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Remove the Chantilly from the refrigerator and beat in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in the bowl in which it was refrigerated, using a hand mixer fitted with the whisk beaters) on low speed until light and airy, about 3 minutes. Sprad or pipe the Chantilly on the top of the tray. Serve this the same day you make it, because the fillings will make the crust soggy if it sits for longer than 1 day. Store in the refrigerator in a covered cake carrier or wrapped with plastic wrap.




Cheers to Beautiful Bordeaux and Fabulous Food

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Guest Blogger, Amy Wickstein, C-CAP Development Manager

When C-CAP’s President, Susan Robbins, shared the news that Sotheby’s was hosting a Bordeaux tasting and C-CAP was invited, I was thrilled. Not only were we invited to taste the wines from the wonderful chateaux, but C-CAP alums, known for their culinary talents, were asked to prepare the food to pair with the impressive list of wines.

Not surprisingly, a sold-out crowd filled the fifth floor of Sotheby’s on Monday evening for the Wine Tasting with Unions des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. Nearly 100 incredible winemakers poured their 2010 and 2013 vintages, and I was a happy taster! Guests swooned over our talented C-CAP alums’ culinary masterpieces, and yes, black truffles were involved. The chef lineup and dishes were:

Swainson Brown, Executive Chef, The Pridwin, Shelter Island, NY: Country Pate with Duck, Pistachio and Violet Mustard

Yvan Lemoine, Chef de Cuisine, Bodega Negra in the Dream Hotel Downtown, Tao Group, New York, NY: Carne Asada Tacos with Truffle Mole

Krystal Lewis, Saute/Grill Cook, The Spotted Pig: Braised Oxtail, Creamy Polenta, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms, Horseradish Gremolata

Angel Torivio, Manager, The Meatball Shop, West Village, NYC: Coq Au Vin Ball with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy

Efren Razo, Tournant, New York Yankee Steakhouse: Hudson Valley Fois Gras Torchon, Duck Crackling, Cara Cara Marmalade

PicMonkey Collage sotheby's

It was also great to see some of our Junior Board members enjoying the night – Nic Bryant, Samantha Cohen, Ben Davison, Emily Gopstein, and Jennifer Grausman! Catch us next at Kajitsu on February 10th for an exclusive eight-course Kaiseki Tasting Dinner, paired with high-end sakes, and amazing giveaways from Korin.

Here at C-CAP, we know the best food and beverage events, so be sure to…

Stay tuned!

Congratulations to our Alum Giovanna Delli Compagni, the first female winner of the C-CAP 2016 Daniel Boulud Scholarship to Institut Paul Bocuse

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Guest blogger: Joyce Appelman, C-CAP’s National Communications Director

On January 12th, Daniel Boulud hosted the C-CAP Culinary Competition at his restaurant Café Boulud to determine the lucky young chef who would receive a full-tuition scholarship to study at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France.

This year’s competitors were Giovanna Delli Compagni, sous chef of Asiate at The Mandarin Oriental in New York City and Jose Fontanez, sous chef of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.

Each competitor was given a market basket with only ten ingredients to create and prepare a unique soup and a main course to present to the esteemed judging panel: acclaimed Chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud of the Dinex Group, Executive Chef Aaron Bludorn of Café Boulud, Executive Sous Chef and C-CAP alumnus Cesar Gutierrez of Café Boulud, C-CAP President Susan Robbins and C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman.

On Monday, January 11th, Giovanna and Jose toured the Michelin-starred Café Boulud and began their prepping for the big day. The pressure was on early the next morning as the candidates began prepping their creations at eight a.m. The competitors began their dish presentation at eleven a.m. followed by the judges’ announcement at noon.

Bocuse Photo Collage

Giovanna’s dishes were inspired by her childhood memories at the beachside while Jose’s dishes were inspired by the robust earthy flavors of his youth.

These two C-CAP grads were formidable opponents and the judges were quite impressed with their dishes. Ultimately the panel awarded the first prize to Giovanna Delli Compangni for her soup of scallop chowder and main dish of lemon sole, cauliflower trio, braised fennel and sweet potato cake.

But at Chef Boulud’s competition, everyone is a winner. Jose walked away with a two-week paid stage at Daniel and Café Boulud for his sunchoke and cauliflower bisque with pan seared scallops and morel mushrooms and his pan seared lemon sole with sweet potato puree fennel and vegetable ragout.

Giovanna, who will be honored at the upcoming C-CAP New York Awards Breakfast on April 8th, will leave for France in May, and not only train at a legendary culinary institution, but also stage in some of the most notable kitchens in Europe.

The Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship was established eleven years ago when Boulud received a birthday grant of $100,000 from his business partner Joel Smilow. Chef Boulud continues to obtain funding for this scholarship from Ment’or, a not-for-profit, devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. The scholarship includes tuition, transportation, room and board, uniforms and cookbooks and is valued at over $15,000.

Together with C-CAP, Boulud has sent a number of talented young chefs to Lyon, who have returned to attain prominent positions in restaurants all over the United States, including DANIEL. Scholarship winners include the 2015 winner, Yvan Lemoine, currently Chef de Cuisine at Bodega Negra in the Dream Hotel. The 2014 Scholarship winner was James Daversa, he is currently at Lure Fishbar at the Loews Hotel in Miami. The 2013 winner Cesar Gutierrez is now Sous Chef at Café Boulud and Sylva Senat, another Boulud Scholarship winner was recently nominated for a James Beard Award and Food & Wine Award. Swainson Brown is an Executive Chef for the Pridwin Hotel in Shelter Island, and a private chef. The first scholarship recipient was Franz Corrales, Executive Chef for Sodexo USA at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations and a round of applause to Giovanna and Jose!

Be Ever a Student

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Guest blogger: Anna Boisture, C-CAP NY’s Culinary Coordinator

With the start of a new year comes the promise of resolutions made and resolutions broken. The daily workout? Does your morning walk to Starbucks count? Only salads for lunch? You made it to the 5th. So this year, C-CAP thought instead of a resolution, a New Year’s mantra to follow could be just the ticket for success.

Our mantra this year was inspired by our incredible teachers, who, as you may remember, joined us this past summer at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island for our National Teachers Conference. (See the blog post on the conference here.) It was a four-day affair at which the teachers became the students and participated in interactive workshops, lively discussions and cutting-edge demonstrations.

Our C-CAP teachers were intrepid students with a hunger to learn, tackling every recipe and debate that came their way. They walked away from the conference with a whole toolkit of new ideas and skills to be used in the classroom and invigorated by their peers to face the challenges of another school year.

So as we begin 2016, we draw inspiration from them to be ever a student. This year is about learning new techniques, exploring new concepts and meeting new people who will inspire you. Whatever your stage in life or career, it is important to always be open to learning and growing – Be ever a student.


“I’ve been a cook all my life, but I am still learning to be a good chef. I’m always learning new techniques and improving beyond my own knowledge because there is always something new to learn and new horizons to discover.” – Chef Jose Andres Puerta

Eating Lean and Mean; How to Pack Power on your Plate

Friday, January 8th, 2016

There are so many career opportunities that you can have in the food and hospitality industry, but one that really stands out is held by our C-CAP alum, Jelani Port, who is a personal chef that works for professional athletes, including the star football player, Larry Fitzgerald. How do you cook satisfying and nutritious meals that will give your boss the power to tackle his opponents? Well, we asked Jelani for some of his secrets, and he shared with us this nutrient-rich recipe that really packs a wallop. At least that’s what Larry Fitzgerald thinks.


Soy Miso Broiled Salmon

(Serves 4)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons miso (soybean paste)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 garlic clove minced
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Salt/Pepper to taste
Cooking spray/ Olive Oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


Preheat broiler.
Combine first seven ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow baking dish coated with olive oil. Add desired amount of salt & pepper on fish. Spoon miso mixture evenly over fish.
Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting twice with miso mixture. Sprinkle with chives.


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