Home News ‘It’s actually opened up doorways.’ How This Culinary Program Prepares College students...

‘It’s actually opened up doorways.’ How This Culinary Program Prepares College students For Success


Esai Raya of Chandler had an curiosity within the culinary world since he was in sixth grade. Now, at 18, he’s an apprentice and line cook dinner at On line casino Arizona making a full wage and advantages, together with tuition reimbursement. He additionally earned a $2,500 scholarship and plans to attend Scottsdale Group Faculty and turn out to be a chef.

Raya credit the nonprofit Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) for getting him on observe to satisfy his targets.

“It’s actually opened up doorways that had I not completed this, almost definitely would’ve stayed closed,” he says. “It’s proven me what I wish to do.”

Based in 1990, C-CAP has a broad mission of furthering meals and social justice. It offers culinary and wellness schooling and workforce growth to 20,000 college students yearly in seven areas throughout the U.S. About 70 colleges all through Arizona, together with on the Navajo Nation, buy this system for his or her elective culinary courses.

Amy Barko, this system coordinator for Arizona C-CAP, mentioned this system has been carried out for 30 years within the state, offering curriculums and assets equivalent to instructor coaching and on-line studying. Although it’s open to anybody, the true mission of C-CAP is to supply underserved teenagers a pathway to success. And meaning greater than educating individuals their method round a kitchen. College students be taught life expertise along with knife expertise.

“It isn’t simply the cooking,” Barko says. “We check out the entire pupil.”

Barko estimates the opposite program they’re most well-known for is internet hosting cooking competitions for highschool juniors and seniors. 100 college students statewide compete for 25 scholarships ranging from $1,000 in the direction of a university financial savings fund “all the way in which as much as a full-tuition scholarship to the highest culinary colleges,” in response to Barko.

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C-CAP began in 1990 and is now nationwide, together with in 22 colleges all through Arizona.

Scott Foust

This yr, chef and restaurateur Mark Tarbell is internet hosting C-CAP’s greatest fundraiser of the yr, the eighth annual Harvest Moon Feast. The occasion will happen at Tarbell’s on October 9. Final yr, it raised over $100,000. Tarbell, who’s on the nationwide board of C-CAP, has been concerned with the group because it started in Arizona.

“Over time, I’ve grown to understand it increasingly, because it has a really, very, very, very, direct and constructive influence on these younger children,” he says.

Many college students use C-CAP to propel themselves into careers within the culinary arts, however among the money scholarships will also be used for any kind of faculty schooling.

“Younger individuals can show to themselves that they will do issues and so they go on to different careers outdoors of the culinary arts, which I feel is implausible,” Tarbell says.

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The Harvest Moon Feast as soon as once more will function pupil culinary creations, wine, cocktails, and a stay band.

Scott Foust

Earlier competitor Bria Fogelson of Peoria set targets inside the trade, and needs to personal a seasonally-based bakery and cafe. She excelled within the competitors requiring college students to arrange a thinly sliced cucumber salad and French omelet.

“They graded off of taste, presentation, the sanitation, the way you run your personal station, and the way you have been within the kitchen,” she says. “All the pieces was graded primarily based on efficiency and the way the top product turned out.”

Fogelson did so effectively, she earned a full scholarship via the C-CAP competitors to attend the Culinary Institute of America beginning in January.

Competitions additionally educate college students to roll with the punches and never get discouraged, which is integral when working within the fast-paced, high-stress setting of a restaurant kitchen. Chef Kevin Barko, culinary coordinator and board member for Arizona C-CAP, and Amy Barko’s husband, mentioned Esai Raya struggled within the second competitors, however he did not surrender.

“Some college students stomp their toes and go away the room and cry,” Kevin says. “Esai didn’t do this. He didn’t even flinch… He continued.”

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Chef Kevin Barko is the culinary coordinator for Arizona C-CAP and on the board of administrators.

Kevin Barko

One other massive benefit to C-CAP is that it connects college students with positions at prime resorts, accommodations, and bakeries to earn whereas they be taught, just like the one Raya has with On line casino Arizona. Extra college students lately don’t appear keen on leaping proper into school, Kevin notes. An apprenticeship or internship helps them work out what they wish to do whereas filling a niche within the labor market.

“Employers are in dire want of staff who’ve some clue about the right way to work round a kitchen,” Kevin says.

That may result in a lot larger alternatives, C-CAP graduate Peter McQuaid came upon. He began working for chef Beau MacMillan on weekends in highschool and now, at age 24, is the manager chef of Cala in Scottsdale.

“I did [C-CAP] for 2 years and competed within the competitions and received a very nice scholarship to the Worldwide Culinary Heart in New York,” he says. “That was a dream come true for me.”

MacMillan says McQuaid handles the pressures of the job due to the sturdy basis, mentorship, and ability set that C-CAP offered.

“Have a look at how far he’s come within the brief house,” MacMillan says.

Like McQuaid, Raya has seen firsthand how important C-CAP is in making connections.

“With the ability to have this chance, working with cooks who’ve gone to culinary faculty and labored on this trade longer than I’ve been alive” has helped him work towards his targets, he mentioned. “I wouldn’t have been capable of do it had I not completed C-CAP.”

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C-CAP competitions supply college students the possibility to earn wherever from $1,000 to a full tuition scholarship to prime culinary colleges.

Scott Foust

Tickets for the Harvest Moon Feast begin at $125 and are available online. The evening consists of culinary creations by highschool groups and their chef mentors, premium cocktails, wine, and stay music by Nate Nathan and the MacDaddy-O’s, which options Tarbell on guitar.

Harvest Moon Feast at Tarbell’s

Sunday, October 9 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
3213 East Camelback Street