We strutted uptown May 17-19 to attend the Fourth Annual Harlem EatUp! presented by Citi. Founded by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Herb Karlitz (Karlitz & Co), Harlem EatUp! is a delicious love letter to this vibrant community.
Thursday, May 17 was the Luminary Dinner at Ginny’s Supper Club recognizing community legends “Dapper Dan,” owner of Dapper Dan’s Boutique, and SIRIUS radio personality, Bevy Smith. Dinner featured selections of Bordeaux wines paired with dishes from Guest Chefs Adrienne Cheatham and Geoffrey Zakarian along with Marcus Samuelsson. By the end of the night, everyone was on the dance floor doing the Harlem shake, rattle and roll, thanks to The Rakiem Walker Project band.
A cold rainy Saturday didn’t deter any hungry souls (including us!) from heading to Morningside Park to enjoy the Harlem Stroll which featured local restaurants and more Bordeaux wines, as well as Hendrick’s Gin cocktails and numerous other wine and spirits libations. By Sunday the sun came out and in characteristically crazy Spring weather, it was hot and moist! We traipsed over to bustling Boulevard Bistro to taste Chef Carlos Swepson’s famous biscuits which we discussed when he was a guest on our radio show last year. Then, we headed back to Morningside Park to try more food and libations.
The community spirit in Harlem is vibrant and – wet weather aside – we soaked it all in with pleasure!
Thank you to our friends at Karlitz & Co. and Lauren Monroe at Marcus Samuelsson Group for our Harlem Stroll tickets and to Mary Gorman McAdams, (CIVB) – Bordeaux Wine Council, for including us at her table for the Luminaries Dinner.
We squeezed in an evening at Taste of the Upper West Side Saturday, May 19. Despite having lived in Manhattan for more than 25 years, we’d never been to this event which took place under a huge tent and featured more than 80 restaurants, wines, and cocktail bars split between two nights. Palm Bay and Taub Family Co. supplied the numerous wine tables, and we tasted several cocktails from local UWS watering holes.
The night we attended, Chef-Restaurateur John Fraser (The Nix, Narcissa and The Loyal) was the evening’s honoree, and Jacques Torres was signing his book, “Dessert Circus” which was free for American Airlines Mastercard holders. So glad I brought my card! The evening was presented by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District to support neighborhood improvement and beautification.
A special thank you to Linda Alexander, Alexander Marketing Corp., for arranging our press tickets. Congratulations on a fabulous event!
Normally, we are not Cocktail Lounge Lizards. My idea of bellying up to a bar is heading to a barre class. I am more l downward dog than hair of a dog when it comes to recovering from a night out imbibing. But, who can resist an invitation to check out the swanky new cocktail lounge at one of NYC’s hottest restaurant openings, The Pool Room at the former Four Seasons Restaurant? The place is hopping with a mosaic of New York’s stylish deal makers, debutantes and downtown-heads-uptown types.
And we know why. Director of Bar Operations Thomas Waugh makes cocktails that build on a single ingredient without overdoing it. The cocktails are based on a vegetable, fruit, spice or herb, and then he layers. Cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, chamomile and cinnamon are just a few examples. Of course Thomas switches it up with the seasons, so who knows what may be up his bar sleeve next.
Originally destined for culinary school, Thomas caught the bartending bug working at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room in San Francisco as a means to earn money for school. His industry mentors, Jacques Bezuidenhout and Marcovaldo Dionysos, taught Thomas to mix his culinary inclinations into his drinks. Prior to joining Major Food Group, which owns The Pool Room restaurant & lounge among many other NYC restaurants,Thomas was Head Bartender at Death & Co.
Listen to our show with Thomas Waugh, The Pool Room Lounge on iHeart.com. Click image below.
A sunset stroll on a warm September evening in lower Manhattan while watching party boats cruise the Hudson River had us reminiscing about the New York restaurants we’d loved and lost. The occasion that prompted this was a dinner at Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) with Chef David Waltuck who was recently named Director of Culinary Programs.
David prepared five signature dishes from his landmark restaurant, Chanterelle, which closed in 2009 after 30 years in business. It was lovely to see David in action and catch up with his wife and partner at Chanterelle, Karen, as well as Andrew Friedman who collaborated with David on the book, “Chanterelle: The Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic.”
I could write a memoir based around restaurants that played an important role in my life. Some were clients. Others were host venues for my events. Many participated in programs I produced such as New York Restaurant Week, The James Beard Foundation Awards and the Bon Appétit Wine & Spirits Focus. Many took good care of me when I paid a visit either as a solo diner or when I dined with good friends or my parents when they paid me a visit from Tennessee. Many owners became close friends.
We made a list sitting on a bench watching the sunset. We named it “the restaurants we loved and lost.” The sun may have set on these restaurants, but they each left a special imprint in various aspects of our life in Manhattan. The reason why some of them are included is another story for another time!
Our list: An American Place, Arizona 206, Beppe, Bolo, Capsouto Frerès, Chanterelle, Cité, Danube, Hudson River Club, Lespinasse, Lola,The Four Seasons, Giovanni’s Atrium, La Caravelle, La Cote Basque, La Fourchette, Les Célébrités, Le Madri, Les Halles, Lutece, March, Mesa Grill, Nosmo King, The Oak Room, Pastis, Peacock Alley, Princess Pamela’s Little Kitchen, Picholine, Pipa, Quilted Giraffe, Rainbow Room, Restaurant Florent, San Domenico, SD26, Sign of the Dove, Tabla, Union Pacific, WD50, Windows on the World, Verbena, Veritas, Zarela. And then there are the original locations no more: Bouley, Le Cirque and Union Square Cafe. More recently it was announced that Carnegie Deli will close the end of 2016; its rival, Stage Deli, already shuttered.
I know you have more to add to this list based on your own personal experience. We found list on Gayot.com.
The above photo is of the late Giovanni Natalucci of Giovanni’s Atrium in Lower Manhattan. (Credit: Downtown Express file photo by Maria Yoo). Our back story: A small group of us tried to “save” Giovanni’s Atrium after the September 11th terrorist attacks by hosting events there. At a dinner party in 2003 I reconnected with David after not seeing him for more than a decade. Both the restaurant and its owner left us in 2008, a year after David and I were married.
I grew up Southern and Jewish in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I like to tell people Southern Jews grow up with Bubbas and Bubbies in their families. Brisket was served with biscuits. JELLO molds were our serving of fruit. What we didn’t have were truly authentic Jewish delis. Well, we had Shapiro’s, but it was a Jewish deli with a southern twist: pimiento cheese on challah bread.
My parents took me to New York City for the first time when I was 5 for a wedding with “those yankee family members who lived North of the Mason Dixon Line” (or so my mother told me). I was intent on having tea with Eloise at The Plaza and becoming her new BFF. My mother booked us tickets to see “Fiddler the Roof” for a dose of culture. My Dad just wanted to go to Carnegie Deli for pastrami on rye.
Well, Eloise never materialized. But we went to Carnegie Deli where I saw the Largest Sandwich of My Life. It was my first taste of pastrami. I spit it out! My parents ordered me a grilled cheese sandwich while they devoured pastrami and corned beef. Over the years my parents and I would come to New York for theater trips and debate between Carnegie Deli and Stage Deli. I always ordered turkey sandwich at either place. Mother chose corned beef. Dad always stuck to his pastrami.
I was always a fan of Second Avenue Deli and was fond of the late Abe Lebewohl whose untimely murder was never solved. Stage Deli closed in 2012. This past Friday, just before the start of the Jewish High Holy Holiday Days, Carnegie Deli’s owner announced the landmark restaurant will close at the end of this year. Another New York dining institution will make way for a corner bank (I bet!). Here’s what Carnegie Deli posted on its Facebook Page:
New York City has seen its fair share of vegetarian restaurants over the years, like Zen Palate, Blossom, Candle Cafe and Angelica Kitchen, but none have ever garnered the accolades that Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy has. Opened in 2008 with only 18 seats, Dirt Candy wasn’t just a fresh look at how to create a meat free menu, it was more like the Le Bernardin of vegetarian cooking: a veritable temple to the possibilities of where one can take a chef’s chosen medium, in this case vegetables, in the kitchen.
When it was reviewed, finally – after four years, by Pete Wells of The New York Times (he, like Leonardo DiCaprio, probably couldn’t get a reservation), Dirt Candy got a glowing review and two stars. Later, the Michelin Guide took notice. the restaurant expanded to a large location on the Lower East Side with plenty of seating and counter space to feed NYC’s growing population of healthy minded restaurant goers. Address: 86 Allen Street (212) 228-7732 Twitter@dirtcandynyc
All of it comes from the energetic mind of Amanda Cohen, a Canadian by birth, who has, in the process of creating a restaurant based on vegetables, also bucked most of the stereotypes associated with that concept, like using organic vegetables, sourcing only from farmers markets, and eschewing the use of dairy and eggs in her dishes. She does none of those, choosing instead to focus on making sure that what she creates in her professional kitchen, while certainly more labor intensive and admittedly intricate than similar dishes one may cook at home, can at least be done so from supermarket ingredients if need be, and without scouring the far reaches of the earth to find the perfect purple carrot.
Amanda calls Dirt Candy an all vegetable restaurant versus vegetarian. Dirt Candy appeals to vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike. It’s just that good and you want to try every dish. Rephrasing something Amanda says in her comic book cookbook, “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook,” “It’s about saying “yes” to vegetables versus saying “no” to meat. In fact, Amanda does eat meat. But has she met a vegetable she doesn’t like? Listen to our January 13th show with Amanda at this iHeartRadio Link
Purchase Amanda’s cookbook now and find out how her sense of humor is as fabulous as her cooking.
Couples and families alike spent many memorable meals at Capsouto Frères, a gem of a restaurant in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood owned by Jacques Capsouto, his mother, Eva, and his two younger brothers, Albert and Samuel. Opened in the 1980s when Tribeca was still a “fringe” neighborhood, the restaurant survived three decades of New York City’s highs and lows, from Wall Street bull and bear markets and the September 11th terrorist attacks which put Lower Manhattan businesses in a standstill, to the loss of Jacques’ beloved mother and youngest brother, Albert.
Through it all, Jacques stood front and center at events that supported the industry, generously giving his time to various causes from charity dinners, to festive Compagnons du Beaujolais celebrations and Capsouto Frères’ enormously popular Passover Seders.
After Hurricane Sandy demolished Capsouto Frères in 2012, Jacques decided not to rebuild the restaurant. After 32 years as a restaurateur and at the age of 68, he decided to reinvent his life as a full time vintner in Israel.
You can read more about Jacques and his decision to close Capsouto Frères in an article David and I co-wrote for the January 2013 issue of Tasting Panel Magazine on how the industry came together after Hurricane Sandy.
Jacques’ interest in Israel’s growing wine industry was sparked after he attended a family function there in 2004. In 2006 he decided to pursue planting vines in the Holy Land and in 2010 found what he was looking for in Peki’in, an area about 20 miles from the Mediterranean. During that time he traveled back and forth from York, where he was overseeing to his restaurant, to Israel where he tended to his vines.
While most wines in Israel are made from international varietals (e.g., Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc), Jacques looked closer to the Mediterranean to source rootstock from southern France. He selected Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah and Counoise for his reds, and Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussane and Marsanne for the whites. Planting began in 2011. The first harvest started in August 2014.
Working with wine consultant, Jean-Luc Colombo, Jacques has introduced his first vintage. The Jacques Capsouto Vignobles Côtes de Galilée Villages portfolio includes an entry level white and rosé called Cuvée Eva (named after Jacques’ mother), an entry level red called Cuvée Samuel (named after Jacques’ grandfather), a reserve white, Cuvée Albert (named after Jacques’ youngest brother) and a reserve red, Cuvée Marco (named after Jacques’ father). All wines are certified kosher. The U.S. importer is Roadhouse Wines. www.roadhousewines.com
Jacques’ life is a story of love, family, loss, survival and reinvention. The two wines we tasted, Cuvée Eva Rosé and Cuvée Eva White, are expressive and soulful, much like the spirit of their creator.
He’s been called “the godfather of Nuevo Latino cooking” by media and food industry cognoscenti. His dishes pack a “pow” in flavor, texture and color.
I first became familiar with Chef Douglas Rodriguez’s muy sabroso culinary style when he was still in his tender twenties cooking “upscale Cuban” food at his restaurant YUCA (an acronym for “Young Cuban Americans”) in Miami. The James Beard Foundation Awards took notice early on and nominated him twice for Rising Star Chef of the Year; he won the award in 1996.
Doug exploded into the competitive New York City restaurant scene with Patria, where he honed his Nuevo Latino style. The New York Times awarded Patria three stars, and other restaurant developers came calling on Doug.
More restaurants followed: Chicama, a Peruvian restaurant and Pipa, Spanish tapas, both in NYC’s Union Square neighborhood; and Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia with restaurateur Stephen Starr. Today, Doug continues to run Alma de Cuba.
The son of Cuban immigrants, Doug was raised in Miami and starting cooking in his early teens, landing his first job at age 14 as a summer apprentice at the Four Ambassadors Hotel in Miami. Now, with his restaurants, a successful catering company and four books, DRod (as he refers to himself) is still at the top of his game.
We’re excited about his culinary trips to Cuba. With U.S.-Cuban relations opening back up and the tourism industry in Cuba looking at a renaissance, you may want to book a trip with DRod soon!
Strolling West 58th Street recently I peeked into Loi Estiatorio, a sliver of a restaurant owned by renowned Greek chef, Maria Loi. “Peeked” is an understatement. Maria was at the entrance and welcomed me in for a visit with her at the bar. It was pre-service, so the restaurant was quiet (for a short time). Maria offered me a selection of Greek wine plus a delicious Feta-Greek yogurt dip with hard crackers. When I told her I wanted to learn how to make yogurt she went back to her kitchen and brought me a printout of her recipe plus a small bowl of the most luscious yogurt I’ve ever tasted. And more wine.
Greeks are known for their hospitality and passion for their culture and food. Maria is no exception. The global Chef’s Club of Greece has recognized Maria as the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy. In addition to Loi Estiatorio in Manhattan, Maria owns an exquisite gourmet restaurant in idyllic Nafpaktos, is a popular television chef and has a line of dinnerware and kitchen appliances. She’s author of dozens of books including The Greek Diet(with veteran health journalist,Sarah Toland) which was the official cookbook of the 2004 Greek Olympics. The Greek Diet outlines Maria’s 12 Food Pillars for a healthy diet. It’s a simple diet based around fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, chicken and eggs, whole grains, beans and plenty of olive oil and yogurt,herbs and spices. And wine – Greek of course!
I’ve been in a “Greek state of mind” for quite some time since olive oil, yogurt, beans and steamed greens (akin to Cretan style horta) are my dietary staples along with water, coffee and tea (she discusses the benefits of Greek coffee and mountain tea)…..and wine. Maybe it stems from my years as a young girl devouring stories from Greek mythology (Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, was my personal favorite.) It’s no myth that the Greek diet is among the healthiest, and Maria’s glow and energy are a testament.
Listen to our May 13 show with Chef Maria Loi Here
David and I were thrilled to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) on Tuesday, March 3, at Chelsea Piers in New York City. We’ve attended- and produced- numerous multi-chef tasting events in our careers, and this one is among the best. It was so much fun catching up with industry colleagues and friends whom we have worked with in over the years, including Nina and Tim Zagat, Chef Michael Lomonaco, Sarabeth Levine, Marcus Samuelsson and Daniel Boulud. Several of my fellow Les Dames d’Escoffier members were on hand to support the event, including: Rita Jammet, Pamela Morgan and Saori Kawano and, of course, C-CAP’s Director of Communications, Joyce Appelman.
The evening honored restaurauteurs Richard (Dick) Parsons and Alexander Smalls, who’ve contributed to the culinary landscape of Harlem with Minton’s and The Cecil, the latter of which was named Esquire Magazine’s 2014 Best New Restaurant. David and I had the pleasure of interviewing JJ Johnson, Chef de Cuisine at The Cecil on The Connected Table LIVE! on February 18. Listen to our iHeart podcast with Chef JJ here: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27165818
A few thing we learned about Dick Parsons: He is a lifelong New Yorker, philanthropist and business executive extraordinaire, currently serving as Senior Adviser at Providence Equity Partners, and formerly Chairman of the Board for Citigroup and Chairman and CEO of Time Warner, Inc. He is also a big jazz fan who currently serves as Chairman of the Apollo Theater. It was honor to meet him and his special guest, actress, Cecily Tyson!
I’ve known Alexander Smalls through our mutual paths working in the food industry, for his “Southern Revival Cooking” and visiting his former restaurants Cafe Beulah and Sweet Ophelia’s. And we are friends on Facebook. He’s long been a force in the industry and was named one of Zagat’s 19 Restaurant Power Players To Know. But what I didn’t know is that Alexander is both a Grammy and Tony-Award winning opera singer, honored for his recording of Porgy & Bess with the Houston Grand Opera. I’d love to hear that!
C-CAP’s mission is to offer career training, scholarships and other opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry for under served high school students. Since its inception C-CAP has awarded $45 million n scholarships, and classrooms have received $3.2 million worth of supplies and equipment. It was a special treat to meet and taste dishes by C-CAP alumni, including Pastry Chef Veronica Rivera (Marc Forgione Restaurant), Chef Cesar Gutierrez (Lexington Brass) and Chef Kelvin Fernandez (The Marina). You can learn more about C-CAP and hear from both Founder and Chairman Richard Grausman and C-CAP alumni Kelvin Fernandez at The Connected Table LIVE’s February 25th edition. Listen to our iHeart link here: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27169745
During this particularly harsh winter one dish has sustained us….soup. We’ve raided our larder and pantry to create different soups when we can’t leave our icy driveway. Our go-to book has been Joanna Pruess‘ recently published Soup for Two: Small-Batch Recipes for One, Two, or a Few. The recipes are easy enough for Melanie with plenty of vegetarian options and substantial enough for David. Somehow we’ve managed to stretch several of Joanna’s “soup for two” recipes into “soup for two days” by adding more ingredients to a base recipe.
JoannaPruess is an award-winning food and travel writer who has written extensively for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Saveur, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, PBS’ online magazine: NextAvenue.org, and the Associated Press. She is a regular contributor to Specialty Foods Magazine where she develops recipes for gourmet retailers and fine markets across the country, and writes a column about discovering a country’s culture through its cuisine. She also develops recipes for the some of the nation’s top gourmet product manufacturers.
She’s written and published 14 cookbooks. In addition to the aforementioned Soup for Two, some of Joanna’s other books include; Dos Caminos’ Tacos (with Ivy Stark); The Tea Cookbook; The Cast-Iron Cookbook; and Seduced by Bacon: Recipes and Lore about America’s Favorite Indulgence. And then there’s Seduced by Bacon which has captured David’s fancy.
She created and was the first director of the Cookingstudio, a cooking school within Kings Super Market, in New Jersey, where she had more than 15,000 students in five years. Among her classes were special programs for the visually and hearing-impaired, the learning disabled, as well as historical dinners.
Joanna has also lectured about food and cultural anthropology at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., onboard the Crystal Cruises, throughout the U.S., and in Istanbul and Izmir, Turkey. When we were planning our “bucket list” trip to Morocco in 2012, Joanna invited us over to her NYC apartment and shared all her culinary side trips and must-visits from her own excursion.
The other liquids that have helped us maintain both our senses and our sense of humor this winter are hot cups of coffee or espresso and plenty of good wine. Any color or varietal will do depending on the meal we cook, but we are especially partial to a nice Brunello di Montalcino.
Riccardo illy, Chairman of Gruppo illy S.p.A. will join us live from his home in Trieste to discuss his role at the helm of his family’s company as part of our Families in the Business series.
Ricardo’s grandfather, Francesco illy, founded the business in 1933 starting with coffee and chocolate. Back then illy had a farm in Istria near Trieste. After World War II this part of Italy became Yugoslavia. The real estate was nationalized, and the farm was lost. Francesco illy decided to focus on coffee.
Under Riccardo’s father, the late Ernesto illy, the company introduced illy tea. After 20 years, production of illy tea was discontinued, and the focus remained coffee. Today, illy coffee is enjoyed in 140 countries around the world in restaurants, at home and in more than 200 espressamente illy coffee bar locations.
The illy family remains deeply involved in company leadership. Riccardo joined the family firm in 1977 working his way through marketing, sales and upper management positions. He was named Managing Director in 1992, Vice President in 1995 and Chairman of Gruppo illy in 2004, a position he has held since.
Under Riccardo’s direction, illy has expanded back into food as well as wine through acquisitions that include chocolate (Domori) tea (Dammann Frères), fruit preserves and confections (Agrimontana) and wine (Mastrojanni). The latter is an acclaimed Brunello di Montalcino started by the Mastrojanni family in the late 1970s and acquired by the illy family in 2008.
In addition to working within his family business, Riccardo has been active in many other areas of business, community and politics in Italy, as well as serving as a journalist and writing books. He has received numerous honors for his community service.
Join Melanie Young and David Ransom Wednesdays, 2pm ET/11 am PT on the Connected Table LIVE! Each week this Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple profiles the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality, Listen live at www.W4CY.com and on demand any time at iHeart.com (under Shows & Personalities). Have questions about our show or want to us to ask a question to one of our guests? Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also listen to Melanie Mondays, 9pm ET/6pm PT on Fearless Fabulous You!, her inspiring show for and about women, on W4CY’s sister station W4WN- the Women for Women Network, and on demand any time at iHeart.com
Give a man to fish and you feed him for the day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. – Chinese proverb
This week’s show spotlights two individuals whose culinary careers are rooted in education and who have served as mentors to many in the industry.
Southerners are very proud of their culinary heritage; recipes are carefully passed down generation to generation, and nothing beats a southern spread of country ham and biscuits, pimiento cheese on toast and a deep dish casserole served with sweet tea. Melanie grew up in Chattanooga and started her career in Atlanta in the early 1980s. Back then there was one go-to person to learn about southern cooking….Nathalie Dupree.
For nearly a decade Nathalie founded and ran a cooking school in Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta which turned out more than 10,000 students in classes and apprenticeship programs, attracted a stellar list of guest instructors and produced graduates who’ve gone on to earn their own acclaim in the food industry. In 1984 Nathalie was elected president of the International Association of Cooking Schools, now the International Association of Culinary Professionals, with an agenda to set standards for the accreditation of cooking schools across the country.
Nathalie became the first women to have more television cooking shows than Julia Child– over 300 shows for The Food Network, PBS, and The Learning Channel. She is a best-selling author with 13 hardback and two soft back cookbooks. Her best selling book, NewSouthern Cooking, started an entire culinary movement. She has won James Beard Foundation Awards for Southern Memories and Comfortable Entertaining as well as her most recent book co-authored with Cynthia Graubart, Nathalie Dupree’s Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.
In addition to hosting her own television shows, Nathalie has appeared on “NBC Today,””Good Morning America” and CNN, among others. She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Better Homes and Garden,Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping.
A native of South Carolina, Nathalie lives in Charleston with her husband, Jack Bass, who is author of nine books on the American South. She is The Founding Chairman of the Charleston Food and Wine Festival, a founder of the Atlanta and Charleston Chapters of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, the American Institute of Wine and Food and the International Association of Culinary Professionals, of which she was two- time President. Nathalie was awarded the prestigious “Grand Dame” recognition by Les Dames d’Escoffier and 2013 Woman of the Year by a prestigious organization of French Chefs in America. She is also a founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance which established a Nathalie Dupree Graduate Fellowship program in 2014.
Richard Grausman, one of America’s most respected culinary educators, credits cooking lessons with late James Beard with inspiring him to turn what had been an extra-curricular hobby while working in the import business into a full fledged career. Richard has “paid it forward” through the non-profit he founded, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) whose students find rewarding careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
In 1967, Richard enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where he decided on a career in teaching. He earned the coveted Grand Diplôme and so impressed the school’s owner, Madame Elizabeth Brassart, that she made him Le Cordon Bleu’s first exclusive ambassador for Le Cordon Bleu. In that role Richard taught in major cities across the United States, conducted travel seminars in Paris and the French Riviera, made television appearances and write recipes for top U.S. food and lifestyle magazine.
After the school changed ownership in 1985 Richard spent the next few years teaching and writing independently. His cookbook, At Home with the French Classics (Workman, 1988) was met with commercial success. After eight printings, it was redesigned, revised and released in 2011 as French Classics Made Easy.
In 1990, Richard piloted a program in twelve New York City high schools to teach French cooking in home economics classes. His intention was to teach American youth about the satisfaction and value of home cooking. The schools were all inner-city high schools filled with under served students. He soon realized that many of these students lacked job skills or college prospects.
To fulfill this need, Richard created C-CAP with the mission to enhance the culinary arts curriculum in public schools and better prepare under served students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. C-CAP provides teacher training, cooking competitions for scholarships, job training and internships for outstanding students, college and career advising, and product donations to classrooms. C-CAP works with over 165 public high schools, and the more than 220 teachers we support through professional development reach some 18,000 students annually in their classrooms.
Since its inception in 1990, C-CAP has operated continuously for two decades and awarded over $43 million in scholarships. While New York City remains the headquarters and flagship program, the C-CAP National Network now includes Arizona (statewide); Chicago; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and District Of Columbia/Prince George’s County, MD.
Many C-CAP students find rewarding careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. We’ll also speak with Kelvin Fernandez, C-CAP’s youngest Executive Chef at 22.
A former high school baseball player, Kelvin attended a cooking class at Long Island City High School in Queens and decided to make food his career In 2003 Kelvin entered the C-CAP New York Cooking Competition for Scholarships and was awarded a $40,000 scholarship to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in upstate New York.
Today, Kelvin is the Executive Chef of La Marina Restaurant. He also serves as a FitChef for the NBA, is a judge for the C-CAP Meatless Monday Recipe Contest and has appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped.” Kelvin regularly visits his high school culinary arts classroom to host cooking demos and also trains C-CAP students in his restaurant.
Kelvin says “C-CAP is one of the best things that has happened to the culinary industry. C-CAP gives young kids the opportunity to find a passion in life while still young. If it wasn’t for C-CAP’s guidance, I would never have become C-CAP’s youngest Executive Chef at age 22.”
Join Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom Wednesdays 2pm ET/11 am PT on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY radio and any time on demand at IHeart.com. Food and beverage industry insiders Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple who bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.