C-CAP LA PARTICIPATES IN VENTURA COUNTY FARM DAY 2015
The third annual Ventura County Farm Day on September 26, 2015 brought out two dozen C-CAP board members, spouses and friends who took a day-long bus tour that included visits to farms plus a grand BBQ dinner at Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula. Five enthusiastic C-CAP students from LACES and Carson were on board to lend a hand at the BBQ supervised by LA director Lisa Fontanesi, Career Advisor Lorri Wressell and Board Member Terri Cooper. Hundreds of participants from near and far converged at Limoneira at the end of their touring day to feast, enjoy live music, and witness an awards presentation by Mary Maranville, chairperson of Farm Day and head of SEEAG, a non-profit organization that educates children about farm to table food.
The tour began with a stop at Houweling’s Tomatoes in Camarillo. Lindsay Martinez, marketing brand manager, showed off the farm’s state-of-the art facilities that are emblematic of America’s shift to sustainable farming. Founded by Cornelius Houweling, a Dutch immigrant horticulturist who relocated Camarillo from British Columbia in order to grow better crops in California’s year round sunshine, Houweling’s is famed for having 50 acres under glass, with high-tech greenhouses that produce America’s finest tomatoes. The farm has five acres of solar power and three co-generation units. “We ship seven and a half million cartons of tomatoes and cucumbers within a 500-mile radius. We stay local,” said Lindsay, “and you can find our tomatoes at Costco, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Gelson’s and other fine markets.” Lindsay led the group past the greenhouse complex, explaining its co-generation engine that produces electricity, its growing lights that can often be seen glowing in the Conejo Valley, its efficient irrigation method that uses only one sixth the water of field farming, and its novel system of harvesting at waist level.
Not far away, the McGrath Family Farm is now in its fifth generation, a much-visited property established by a hard-working Irish-American family. Havilah McGrath gave an intro to the farm, famed far and wide for its strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins and other vegetables. “I grew up on this farm,” said Havilah. “In my grandfather’s time, we grew mostly lima beans. When my dad took it over, we switched to strawberries and tomatoes. By 1995 we made the transition to organic farming. But our 300 acres were way too much, so we leased 270 acres to Driscoll for raspberry growing.” Havilah beamed as she bragged about the farm’s involvement with school groups who come out regularly for tours spearheaded by her uncle. “We sell to a few restaurants, but most of our produce is sold at about a dozen farmers’ markets in the area. We also have a U-Pick program.” When asked to elaborate about the drought’s effect on the farm, Havilah emphasized that McGrath wants to install a drip system. “Fortunately, we have a well, but have had to cut back on some of our vegetables. For example, we only grown one type of beet now. But now there is a new worry is on the horizon, the probability of El Nino flooding our farm and we are elevating our planting beds in anticipation.”
Winding northwest to Fillmore, the group stopped at Chivas Skincare, a goat milk farm that produces high quality soaps and cosmetics made from the abundant milk that resident goats provide. “Welcome everybody,” said Donna Johanson, owner and founder of the farm together with daughter Lauren. “I began making goat milk soap in my Camarillo kitchen as a hobby in 2005 because the two alpine goats we had were producing so much milk. At first it was just a hobby, but now we sell our cosmetics line to over 100 stores. Five years ago we bought mini one-acre farm and installed a production workshop with solar panels.” Donna guided the group past tortoises, a cow, goats, pigs and chickens. “Our goats are foragers, not grass eaters,” she emphasized. “We have some goats for sale right now.” The air conditioned workshop offered respite from the blistering sun as Donna explained the process of soap making and its three ingredients: essential oils (coconut, olive), water (goat milk) and lye. “We pour the mixture into molds and wait for three days. We use a planer to create uniformity and continue drying for a day, then we make custom cuts and let the soap dry and shrink for 30 days. Please stop in our gift shop,” Donna added with pride as she got ready to welcome another wave of visitors.
Heading toward Santa Paula, the bus made a stop at the Ventura County Agricultural Museum, opened in 2010 and housed in a former agricultural storage building dating from 1888 that was part of the western railroad system. Much of the building’s original floors and walls are still in place. Here lima beans, and later citrus and avocados, were stored in bins that were moved on carts through side freight doors that led directly into railroad cars. Kevin Genovese, the museum’s operations and facilities coordinator, related the history of the museum as well as the history of crops in Ventura County. “Later on the building became an animal supply store and then was eventually abandoned,” he explained. “The Century County Transportation Commission bought the building in 2009 under a grant, and after two years of planning and curation, it became a museum. Please take a look at the wonderful tractor exhibit,” he added, “ranging from an early Yuba tractor from 1914 made in Marysville, California that was delivered here by train, all the way to the latest Deere model from 2014.”
By 4:30, as the weather began to cool, the bus arrived at the north lawn of Limoneria, the largest citrus and avocado farm in America, dating from 1893 and comprising 3200 acres in Ventura County with additional property around the globe, for a total of 11,000 acres. Children were squealing with delight as they played bocce ball. The aroma of BBQ was wafting over the scene. Numerous round tables with sunflower centerpieces were clustered around a stage area where musicians and singers were performing. C-CAP students were hard at work assisting in the grilling of grass-fed, tri tip beef and free range chicken. An hour later, the feast was ready and two long serving tables offered up the entrees, seasonal salads, grilled bread, and later, locally-baked specialty cookies. C-CAP guests were blown away, having gained new appreciation for the rich trove of farms in Ventura County. As they boarded the bus for the long ride home, smiles of contentment could be seen all around. “I am so glad we did this,” said Mitzie Cutler, former C-CAP LA director. “With all of us coming here today and the students assisting in the cooking and serving, it was our way of saying ‘thank you’ to Limoneira for all the wonderful tours they provide each year to our C-CAP students.”
Trani Ristorante Celebrates 90th Anniversary with Gala Party on August 22
C-CAP Board and Staff Members were among hundreds of smiling attendees at J. Trani Ristorante, San Pedro’s landmark restaurant celebrating its 90th year of operation on Saturday, August 22. It was a gala affair! Patrons lined up outside to receive drink and goodie bag coupons and then packed Trani’s downstairs and upstairs dining rooms to capacity. Executive chef Dustin Trani, a C-CAP graduate who is also the creative chef at Doma in Beverly Hills, turned out an exceptional menu featuring his signature appetizers, local calamari with Thai aioli, rigatoni with pulled tomato short rib ragu, and swordfish Milanese. With a big smile, Dustin circulated around the rooms, posing for photos with his guests. There were glowing tributes from San Pedro politicians and fellow restaurateurs, upbeat music, and lots of nostalgia about the good old days.
Trani is in now in its fourth generation in the restaurant business. Established on May 16, 1925 by great grandfather Filippo as the Majestic Café, it gradually evolved into J. Trani Ristorante, diversifying its menu and growing its space and staff. Today Trani still retains that neighborhood feeling and people come for its legendary food, but also to socialize, to see and be seen. Dustin heads the kitchen and his father Jim manages the operation of the restaurant with the help of mother Viki, and siblings Jessica and Jim. Dustin’s Grandfather Jim, who was the seminal figure at Trani, passed away in 2013. Ninety years ago, neighborhood patrons were primarily blue collar workers. Today’s clientele is very family oriented and patrons reflect an increasingly sophisticated American palate that demands a more diverse and refined menu utilizing quality ingredients. In the last ten years, Dustin has totally revamped its menu to cater to current tastes. An up-to-the-minute restaurateur, he also utilizes social media marketing to attract customers.
For C-CAP attendees it was especially heartening to hear the voices of so many satisfied guests who raved non-stop about this beloved venue and Dustin’s cooking. Bravo, Dustin, and congratulations to the whole family!! We expect great things from you in years to come.
C-CAP LA Board Members Tour Grand Central Market
The weather in Los Angeles was sizzling, but that did not stop Mitzie Cutler and an enthusiastic contingent of C-CAP/LA board members (Gloria Barke, Karen Berk, Linda Burum, Terrie Cooper, Gloria Mandell, Dalia Miller, Yoko Newberg, Sylvia Rieman, Teri Solomon and Ria Young plus spouses and friends) from touring the historic Grand Central Market between Broadway and Hill Streets in downtown LA. Organized by food writer and board member Linda Burum, the group traveled by car or Metro to the market, in continuous operation since 1917 and recently refurbished.
Located next to Angel’s Flight, once the transport of choice for wealthy residents in Bunker Hill who came to the market to shop for their groceries, the block-sized market was re-conceived by developer Ira Yellin and is currently spearheaded by his widow, Adele. The area has changed repeatedly over the past century. Once a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, it became a major Latino-Asian enclave as new immigrants flooded Los Angeles. Today, freeways and public transport bring visitors from all over the city to a revitalized downtown LA that has become a major food mecca in recent years, with numerous award-winning restaurants that are a magnet for both local and suburban foodies. The market echoes that trend.
According to Andrea Alonzo, who does PR for the market and who gave the board an informative intro, “today’s market is chef-driven, a wonderful amalgam of both the old and the new.” Among its many trendy purveyors are Eggslut, Alvin Cailan’s “eggcentric” stall bursting with luscious egg sandwiches and salads; Mark Peel’s Bombo, specializing in seafood; Madcapra’s gourmet falafel; La Tostaderia ceviche bar; Berlin Currywurst featuring German sausages; and Clark Street Bread offering hand-made rustic loaves. Soon to join the list will be a fresh pasta bar by Union chef Bruce Kalman, a Vegan ramen and pho restaurant by Ilan Hall, and a beer and perogie bar by Golden Road Brewery.
The market also attracts a diverse corporate following, including many local attorneys and other business people who love to take their daily lunch there, lured by the gourmet preparations and the variety of vendors. As the board group circulated up and down market aisles, numerous languages could be heard and delectable aromas wafted from Latino, Asian, BBQ and coffee stalls. The line at Eggslut was extra-long and McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams was dishing out scoops of their famous Marionberry and lemon creation. “We only use organic eggs and central coast grass-fed milk and cream plus the finest seasonal fruit,” the gal at the counter was overheard saying.
But the surprise highlight of the visit was chatting with Carmelita Munoz, a 2013 graduate from West Adams High School who participated in C-CAP’s Job Training Program!! Carmelita told us that she had just joined the staff at Bombo as a prep and line cook the month before. She flashed a great big smile and posed for our camera. “I love working here,” she beamed. “This market is wonderful!”
C-CAP LA invites you to an extraordinary spring dinner to benefit our talented students.
C-CAP LA 2014 Dinner Party Series
Students from Hoover High School volunteers serving to C-CAP LA Advisory Board Members.
Photo Credit: Suzanna Mkrtchyan
C-CAP LA 2013 College 101
Every year C-CAP Los Angeles holds a College 101 event for its scholarship recipients to help prepare them for their transition to college and the workforce.
This year’s College 101 was hosted by The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles. The students were able to hear from these amazing speakers: Deljah Dickson, Author, Freshman 101: A Road Map and Journal to Surviving Your First Year of College; Randy Fuhrman, CEO, Randy Fuhrman Events; Mark Hobbs, CTE Transitions Specialist, LA Mission College; Clotee McAfee, Chief Visionary Officer, STITCHES TECHNOLOGY: Sewn Products Business and Career Center, Inc.; Tim McGrath, Executive Chef/Owner, Cook’s Gathering (who also prepared lunch for everyone); Andrea Michaels, President/Owner, Extraordinary Events; and Doria Pomrenke, Graduate and Competition & College Advisor, C-CAP LA.
2013 ‘Cooking Up Change’
Cooking Up Change® is a national contest from Healthy Schools Campaign that challenges high school students to create a great-tasting lunch that meets nutrition standards on a tight budget, using only ingredients commonly available for school food service.
This year C-CAP LA’s West Adams Preparatory High School students José Landaverde, Maribel Sandoval (a 2013 C-CAP LA scholarship winner) and Esther Segura were sent to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. to represent the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
LOS ANGELES AREA PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
TURNED FLOUR INTO GOLD
EARNED OVER $520,000 IN CULINARY SCHOLARSHIPS AND OPPORTUNITIES
AWARDED BY CAREERS THROUGH CULINARY ARTS PROGRAM (C-CAP)
–C-CAP AWARDS OVER $3,000,000 NATIONWIDE—
Los Angeles, CA—Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) President Susan Robbins, Founder & Chairman Richard Grausman, and C-CAP LA Director Mitzie Cutler awarded over $520,000 in scholarships and cash awards to high school seniors from Culver City, Glendale, Los Angeles, and Pasadena Unified School Districts during the awards ceremony hosted by The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.
Aarti Sequeira, the winner of the sixth season of Food Network‘s reality television show, The Next Food Network Star, host of Aarti Party and the Cooking Channel’s Taste in Translation, was the guest speaker at the event. Keith Roberts, Executive Chef at The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and longtime supporter of C-CAP LA, also welcomed the students.
Hard work, good grades, and a lot of broken eggs paid off for Micaela Miranda from Carson High School who won the Johnson & Wales University Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Bachelor’s Degree valued at $104,448. Kristen Hernandez from Glendale High School earned the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associate’s Degree valued at $51,800. Gabriela Diaz from Van Nuys High School was awarded The International Culinary School at The Art Institute Hollywood Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associate’s Degree valued at $49,710. Granada Hills High School’s Kyle Smith was awarded The International Culinary School at The Art Institute Orange County Scholarship for the Associate’s Degree valued at $46,620, while Julia Santos earned the Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship for the Associate’s Degree valued at $36,200. Karl Kauhola from Blair High School received the International Culinary Center of CA Full-Tuition for the Certificate, $29,700. Salvador Avila from Banning High School received the Monroe College Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Bachelor’s Degree $48,192.
Lucila Flores from Marshall High School won $5,000 for first place in the national C-CAP Meatless Monday Chili Recipe Contest and was awarded the New England Culinary Institute Certificate Program Scholarship valued at $6,200.
Scholarships awarded ranged in value from $500 to $104,000 and included some of the most prestigious local culinary schools including: Academy of Culinary Education (ACE), Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom, Glendale Community College, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Hollywood, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Orange County, The International Culinary Center of California, and Westlake Culinary Institute.
Students also received scholarships from local organizations and foundations including: Fresh & Ready Foods, Lacewing Foundation, Les Dames d’Escoffier International – Los Angeles & Orange County Chapters, Mrs. Cubbison’s, Ronald Newburg Foundation, and Wells Fargo.
Some students also received C-CAP Education Scholarships to help defray the costs of tuition, books, supplies, housing, and other expenses while at community college or another culinary school.
On May 3rd, at LA Mission College, 24 finalists representing their public high schools competed against the clock when C-CAP re-created the intensity of a four-star restaurant kitchen for the high school seniors to face off in a savory and sweet challenge. Within a two-hour time limit, each competitor prepared a two-course French meal from memory— Sûpreme Poulet Chasseur avec Pommes Château (Hunter’s Chicken with Turned, Sautéed Potatoes) and Crêpes Sucrées with Crème Pâtissière and Sauce au Chocolat (Dessert Crepes with Pastry Cream and Chocolate Sauce).
The students were judged on the presentation of the dishes, knife skills, techniques in the kitchen, taste, sanitary food handling, and timeliness by professionals working in the industry including:Christophe Bernard, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute – Los Angeles Eric Crowley, Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom Barbara Fairchild, Real Eats Brock Kleweno, Yamashiro Tim McGrath, Cooks Gathering Aaron Robins, Boneyard Bistro Rigo Salas, C-CAP Alum, Don’t Tell Mama Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana Richard Grausman, Founder & Chairman of C-CAP Susan Robbins, President of C-CAP
The C-CAP Cooking Competition for Scholarships is the culmination of the C-CAP high school program for underserved teenagers at-risk of leaving high school without job or college prospects. The C-CAP program offers direction, a set of useful skills, scholarships, and the potential for a fulfilling career in a growing industry.
2013 LOS ANGELES SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS LIST:
CULVER CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Culver City High School
Jacob Zeiss, Lacewing Foundation Scholarship to Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom, $2,500
GLENDALE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Glendale High School
Kristen Hernandez, Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Associates Degree, $51,800, C-CAP Education Scholarship $1,000, C-CAP LA CIA Community College Stipend, $625, Total: $53,425
Hoover High School
Kelly Crockett, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute Los Angeles – Baking and Pastry Diploma, $28,490
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Banning High School
Salvador Avila, Monroe College Full-Tuition Scholarship for the Bachelors Degree $48,192, Elissa & Rick Phillips Scholarship, $1,000, Total: $49,192
Heidi Colin, Ronald Newburg Foundation Scholarship, $4,000, C-CAP Education Award for Knives $250, Total: $4,250
Carson High School
Micaela Miranda, Johnson & Wales University Full-Tuition Scholarship for Bachelors Degree $104,448, Wells Fargo Scholarship $1,000, Total: $105,448
Granada Hills Charter High School
Jacob Bliss, Mrs. Cubbison’s Scholarship, $2,500
Julia Santos, Le Cordon Bleu Scholarship for Associates Degree, $36,200
Kyle Smith, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute Orange County Scholarship for the Associates Degree, $46,620
Marshall High School
Lucila Flores, New England Culinary Institute Certificate Program Scholarship, $6,200, C-CAP Education Scholarship, $1,000, The C-CAP Meatless Monday Scholarship, $5,000, Total: $12,200
Narbonne High School
Fany Canales, Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom Scholarship, $2,500
Polytechnic High School
Melissa Montes, Ronald Newburg Foundation Scholarship $4,000, C-CAP LA Advisory Board Scholarship $2,000, Total: $6,000
Cyrus Pozos, Westlake Culinary Institute Scholarship $4,750, Ronald Newburg Foundation Scholarship $1,000, Total: $5,750
Sun Valley High School
Adriana Guzman, Sandra MacDonald Scholarship, $3,000, Les Dames d’ Escoffier International – LA & OC Chapters Scholarship, $500, Glendale Community College Matching Scholarship $500, C-CAP Education Scholarship $500, C-CAP Education Award for Knives $250, Total: $4,750
Cynthia Villaseñor, Ronald Newburg Foundation Scholarship, $3,000
Sylmar High School
Stacey Palomera, Ronald Newburg Foundation Scholarship, $2,000
Van Nuys High School
Janet Ayaquil, Academy of Culinary Education Scholarship, $5,850
Gabriela Diaz, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute Hollywood Full-Tuition Scholarship for Associates Degree, $49,710
West Adams Preparatory High School
Maribel Sandoval, Lacewing Foundation Scholarship to Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom, $2,500, C-CAP Education Award for Knives $250, Total: $2,750
Isabella Serrano, Fresh & Ready Foods Scholarship to Los Angeles Trade Tech College, $1,500, Lee Ann & Melvin Jacobs Scholarship to Los Angeles Trade Tech College $1,500, C-CAP Education Award for Knives, $250, Total: $3,250
Westchester High School
Orlanda De’Paz, Diane & Paul Mohilef Scholarship, $2,000
Damoriae Graham, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute Los Angeles Full -Tuition Scholarship for Associates Degree, $46,620
PASADENA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Blair High School
Mayra Cinta, Le Cordon Bleu Full-Tuition Certificate Program Scholarship, $19,200
Karl Kauhola, International Culinary Center of CA Full-Tuition for the Certificate, $29,700, Ronald Newburg Foundation Scholarship, $1,000, Total: $30,700
Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) works with public schools nationwide to prepare underserved high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
In Los Angeles for the 2012-2013 academic year, C-CAP impacted the lives of over 3,000 students in 21 public schools working with 23 teachers through training, career services and scholarships. C-CAP provides training and curriculum enrichment programs including: job training and internships, professional development for teachers, college and career advising, and culinary competitions that lead to culinary school scholarships.
A national nonprofit organization founded in 1990 by well-known culinary educator and author, Richard Grausman, C-CAP manages the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the United States and has awarded high school students $40 million in scholarships and donated $2.8 million worth of supplies and equipment to classrooms.
Photo Credit: Ed Krieger