Changing Young Lives through Culinary Careers

The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) and board cochairs Marcus Samuelsson, award-winning chef and owner of the acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem restaurant and cookbook author, and Mark Weiss, chief investment officer of RFR Holding LLC, proudly announce that Karen Brosius has been appointed to the position of president of C-CAP. The national nonprofit organization changes the lives of underserved youths by providing career opportunities through culinary arts education, scholarships, job training, and employment in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Brosius will return to New York from her latest position as executive director of the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina. Under her guidance, since 2004, the museum has become one of the leading art institutions in the Southeast, a leader in audience development and arts education, and a key catalyst for tourism and economic development in the state. The museum was the winner of the 2016 National Medal for Museum Service, the highest honor for museums in the United States, which was awarded by first lady Michelle Obama in a special ceremony at the White House this past June. Prior to joining the museum, Brosius played a key role in national philanthropy and in community nonprofits and arts organizations, working for Altria Group, formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc.

C-CAP has led the way by having an extraordinary and lasting impact on the lives of thousands of high school students.

“Karen’s experience in developing award-winning programs, innovative initiatives, and dynamic partnerships with organizations will be a tremendous asset to fulfilling C-CAP’s mission of breaking the cycle of poverty and changing lives through the culinary arts,” says Samuelsson. “Karen also has an understanding of the imminent needs of the industry for motivated and skilled talent, and we are eager to work with her to create new possibilities for the organization in the coming years.”

According to Brosius, “I am delighted to come back to New York as president of C-CAP and be a part of this exceptional culinary education organization. C-CAP has led the way by having an extraordinary and lasting impact on the lives of thousands of high school students across the country, helping them pursue their culinary dreams and becoming a valued part of this wonderful industry. I look forward to working with the entire culinary community nationwide to continue the visionary work that was begun by Richard Grausman.”

The World Tomato Society interviewed Brosius right after her esteemed appointment at the organization.


World Tomato Society: What programs are you most excited about moving forward in 2017?
Karen Brosius: I am excited to join C-CAP as president, and I am looking forward to leading the organization with programs and services that will be helping economically disadvantaged youth through culinary scholarships, job training, and internships. I’ve always had my heart and soul in education.

C-CAP is a national nonprofit founded by Richard Grausman in 1990. The organization manages the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the nation, and to date, C-CAP has awarded over $50 million in scholarships. C-CAP transforms the lives of economically disadvantaged youth by providing job training and internships, college and lifetime career support, teacher training, and product and equipment donations to classrooms across the country. C-CAP works with over 17,000 students nationwide each year. Through C-CAP’s efforts, a large number of students find rewarding careers in the food service and hospitality industry. Many alumni, now graduates of top culinary schools, are working in leading restaurants and hotels throughout the country. For the fourth year in a row, C-CAP received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest rating from the nation’s largest evaluator of charities.

We are focused on expanding our job training and internship program for culinary students throughout all our locations. We continue to focus on enhancing career development for alumni as well. We have a motto: “Once you’re in C-CAP, you’re in it for life.”

This year, we are increasing opportunities for students and alumni through hands-on training at popular food festivals and culinary events, offering professional development seminars for alumni and teachers, and culinary exchange scholarships for alumni.

C-CAP alumni will become ambassadors for Madrid Gastronomy in the United States, with the Olesay/C-CAP Internship Culinary Exchange Scholarships for three-month internships in restaurants in Madrid, Spain. Seven young chefs will train in Spanish gastronomy in the city of Madrid. Alabaster, Álbora, A’Barra, Club Allard, Coque, Santceloni, and Gaytán are the seven restaurants participating. Six of the seven are Michelin-starred restaurants.

The scholarship covers all travel, housing, and health insurance during the students’ stay in Spain, from the beginning of April through the end of June. The internship program will wrap up with a whirlwind tour of Madrid, comprising visits to agri-food producers, markets, restaurants, and wineries.

This is the second year that C-CAP and Olesay, a premier organization that promotes global education and international learning through internships, partner together. The year 2017 marks a significant increase in the number of scholarships awarded, from two to seven, thanks to the support of the Madrid Region Tourism Association.

Daniel Boulud hosted the C-CAP Culinary Competition at his restaurant Café Boulud to determine the lucky young chef who would receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend the Intensive Culinary Program at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, as well as a two-week stage at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon.

This is also the second year that C-CAP partners with The Gohan Society. Through their generosity, a C-CAP alum will be awarded a two-week scholarship to Japan to explore Japanese culture and cuisine.

WTS: What have been some of the past initiatives that have really served the students of C-CAP well?
KB: Through the job training, internships, and job-shadow programs, C-CAP has provided job-readiness training and paid internships that prepare students for entry-level jobs in restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and other major food service venues.

We continue to equip students with multilevel kitchen skills, and with the job skills that will stay with them for a lifetime, such as communication, time management, and ethics.

WTS: What is the age range of students whom the organization mentors?
KB: We work with high school students in grades 9–12 across the country.

WTS: Do you have any cooking courses centered on working with tomatoes, or dishes that use fresh veggies and fruit?
KB: Through our healthy initiative programs, like the recipe contest that we offer from C-CAP and our partner Meatless Monday, an initiative of the nonprofit The Monday Campaigns, students work with fresh vegetables and fruit, including tomatoes.

This year marks our fifth annual recipe contest, which offers the opportunity to both junior and senior high school students to be awarded scholarships, and a chance for them to demonstrate their creative culinary talents and create an original meatless recipe. With the Meatless Monday recipe contest, C-CAP is challenging high school students who aspire to be culinary leaders to develop delicious plant-based dishes. The contest also hopes to make the students aware of the health and environmental benefits of offering meatless dishes one day a week.

Through this annual contest, culinary students receive guidance from their teachers on recipe writing and development, and are able to showcase their talent of creating meatless recipes while promoting healthy eating habits. This year, the students’ challenge was to create an innovative meatless noodle dish and impress the distinguished panel of judges including:

Matthew Kenney: Recognized as a pioneer in raw, plant-based cuisine. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Kenney has authored dozens of cookbooks and owns award-winning restaurants and culinary academies in destinations including Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Bahrain, Belfast, and Miami.

Maria Loi: Global ambassador of Greek gastronomy, elected by the Chef’s Club of Greece, executive chef of Loi Estiatorio, author, restaurateur, entrepreneur, member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, and philanthropist. Loi is a popular television chef in Greece and the United States, and the author of more than 36 cookbooks, including Ancient Dining, the official cookbook of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and The Greek Diet.

Kwame Onwuachi: Executive chef of The Shaw Bijou in Washington, DC (now closed), and a contestant on Bravo’s season 13 of Top Chef.

Jet Tila: International culinary storyteller, celebrity chef, royal Thai culinary ambassador, and chef-owner of Pakpao Thai in Dallas, Texas, Tila has appeared on Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

WTS: Why is C-CAP so important to young, aspiring chefs around the country?
KB: We have an incredible system in place that, through education and training, prepares our students for rewarding careers. Many students once considered at risk are now thriving executive chefs and even restaurant owners. Graduates often say that their successes came simply “because C-CAP believed in me.” We’ve learned never to underestimate the potential of our students.

C-CAP opens doors for talented and motivated students. We offer a huge benefit to chefs, especially when we are talking about the labor shortage and diversity in the kitchen. Through our results-oriented programs and services, we offer so many opportunities for students to enter the culinary field and have their dreams come true.

For more information about Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), go to Instagram at @ccapinc or Facebook at CCAPinc.