Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Future Chefs Career Exploration Day, Part One

I was very lucky to be invited to participate in the recent Career Exploration Day for Future Chefs held at Quincy High School. This event brought together young culinary students, Chefs, food writers and professionals to share and exchange information about shaping a career in the world of food. Here, Executive Director of Future Chefs, Toni Elka, introduces the panel of speakers: Tania Peterson of Max Ultimate Food, Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta, Erin Byers Murray of The Improper Bostonian, Maryanne Saporito, Chef/owner of Hola in Marshfield, and Carol King, Operations Director at Haley House.

The delicious muffins and sweets were provided by Haley House.

Tania Peterson discussed the ins and outs of juggling family and a thriving catering business.

The always-interesting Chef Jose Duarte spoke about growing up in Peru and how his love for food became the passion of his life, leading to a successful career. At the age of four Jose was so fascinated by food he knew it would be his life's ambition. (Later, we talked with Jose about some amazing new QR Code technology he is working on but that's for another post.)

Erin Byers Murray speaks with her group about her experience working with Island Creek Oysters.

Maryanne Saporito speaks with the students about what it's like to own and operate a successful restaurant.

Future Chefs who have graduated become Alumni, noted by their tan cooking jackets with the FC logo, and are always on hand at FC events. FC Alumni also assist at food-related events at the Boston Center for Adult Education, where they assist some of Boston's top Chefs and food professionals with prep work and cleanup.

Future Chefs Alumni have the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills by helping to oversee and facilitate meetings such as this and share their own insight and experience as to what life after High School will be like.

After the discussions students had the opportunity to relate a few of the things they learned and share what they enjoyed about the discussion groups.

When work groups finished everyone scrambled into to the very impressive kitchen at Quincy High for the Inspired Burrito competition sponsored by boloco. Each team was challenged to create their own, unique burrito to submit to a panel of judges (myself included) who would pick the winner. In Part Two, we'll take a close-up look at the students at work. Can anyone guess why Fluff was an ingredient used by the Somerville High team?

In tomorrow's post we'll visit the burrito competition with some of our usual mouth-watering food pics.

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