Posted by Aubrey Nagle on May 24th, 2012
The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (or C-CAP) awarded over $404,878 in scholarships to ten Philadelphia high school students this month. The students were presented their awards at the C-CAP Philadelphia Awards Breakfast on May 10th hosted by The Union League of Philadelphia.
To win these scholarships, ten high school seniors from Philadelphia public schools competed in C-CAP’s Cooking Competition for Scholarships at Drexel University. The scene recreated the intensity of a four-star kitchen for the students and they had just two hours to complete a two-course French dinner from memory. The dishes–sûpreme poulet chasseur avec pommes château and crêpes sucrées with crème pâtissière and sauce au chocolat, neither of which, needless to say, are easy plates to just knock out from reflex–were meant to test the cooking skills the students (some of whom had been training since their junior year) had learned over their time with C-CAP.
And it wasn’t just hot-line work either. These students not only completed their high-pressure kitchen challenge, but had also completed tests, essays, and interviews to test their culinary knowledge. And before all that, they had to be recommended by a teacher and make it past a preliminary round which tested basic knife skills and more, not to mention participating in the training that C-CAP had facilitated as a year-long program.
So, you know, simple…
The Cooking Competition for Scholarships is the culmination of this year-long program which aims to help underserved teenagers at risk of leaving high school with no job or college prospects. They provide curriculum enrichment and culinary training for students as well as job shadows, internships, ingredient and supply donations for classrooms, and college advising.
With all of this, maybe it’s no surprise that the program has produced success stories like Tashan’s lauded chef, Sylva Senat. And at the end of this intense two-hour practical test–and after all the other testing and competing and training–the ten competitors have a final interview with their C-CAP representatives to discuss which colleges they want to attend and what they need to get there. C-CAP then matches their desires, abilities, and performance over the year with the college scholarships (some of which topped $100,000) presented to them at the Awards Breakfast.
Still, this isn’t just a cooking competition for money. This is a success machine–built by C-CAP for the training of the next generation of American chefs. What these students have done is incredible, and C-CAP’s program is an admirable one. Every student involved with the program should be proud.
But here’s a special shout-out to this year’s crop of scholarship winners. Keep track of these names, people. Something tells me this won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing about them.
Vernon Barret-Dozier, Jr.
Careers through Culinary Arts Program [Official website]
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