Yesterday, 20 high school students from across New York City gathered at ICE for a competition for scholarships to attend culinary school. The two-hour challenge was part of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a program teaching high school students the skills they need for a career in the culinary industry. ICE President Rick Smilow was a long-standing member of the program’s board of directors.
Within a two-hour time limit, each competitor prepared, from memory, a two-course French meal —Hunter’s Chicken with Turned, Sautéed Potatoes and Crepes with Pastry Cream and Chocolate Sauce. The students presented plates of each dish to the judges including ICE Director of Culinary Arts Mike Handal, author and TV personality Sara Moulton, Executive Sous Chef David Chavez of Bouchon Bakery, Executive Chef Matt Hoyle of Nobu 57, Chef Kevin Lasko of Park Avenue Winter, C-CAP Founder and Chairman Richard Grausman and C-CAP President Susan Robbins.
The judges took careful notes on each student’s organization, sanitation, timing, cooking skills, taste, and presentation. In addition, the students were all interviewed giving them a chance to explain how a culinary education would change their lives. It was an incredibly impressive year and Chef Mike told the students, “Any of you would be welcome back at ICE with open arms to come and study with us. It would be a real pleasure.” Moulton told them she was “proud to see so many women among the competitors.”
Also among the attendees were several C-CAP alumni, including Berenice Cabera who came to ICE after participating in the C-CAP program in high school and is now working at Dos Caminos.
The results of the competition will be revealed to participants at the annual C-CAP Awards Breakfast on Thursday, April 5. We can’t wait to see some of the students here at ICE in the very near future!