Thirty-six outstanding culinary students and seniors from 19 Los Angeles County public high schools, including grand prize-winner Jazlyn Corral Botello, 17, from San Fernando High, were recently awarded scholarships to continue their culinary studies by Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) at its annual Los Angeles Region Awards Breakfast hosted by the Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles on May 21.
Botello received a full-tuition scholarship for the bachelor’s degree — valued at $117,000 — from the Culinary Institute of America.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Botello said Wednesday, May 30. “It was the prize I was hoping for.”
Other Valley area students receiving scholarship stipends and awards included Ruby Castillo of Birmingham Community Charter High; Erin Borja and Sammantha Pitpit of Granada Hills Charter High; Heidi Reyes of Monroe High; Gregory Amaya, Lukas Araneta, Zachary Collins, Algin Dabu, and Eugene Galapin from Sherman Oaks CES; and Joseph Lopez of Sylmar High.
In all, more than $918,000 in scholarships and stipends were awarded.
All competitors were gathered at Los Angeles Mission College on May 18 and had to create two servings of a meal and a dessert — a Hunter’s Chicken breast (where the skin is seared, and the meat is then baked) in mushroom sauce and tourne potatoes, and crepes with a pastry creme and a chocolate design.
Everything had to be made from scratch and from memory, Botello said. The competitors had two hours to complete their presentations. Besides the quality of the meal, the students were judged on the presentation of their dishes, knife skills, techniques in the kitchen, taste, sanitary food handling, and timeliness.
Botello said she first became interested in food preparation when she would visit an aunt in Chicago, who had a bakery. Her initial interest soon grew into a desire to create whole meals, not just breads and pastries.
Botello will graduate from San Fernando High on June 6, and plans to start attending the Culinary Institute in September or next January. Eventually she hopes to become a chef, and open her own restaurant.
Founded by Richard Grausman in 1990, C-CAP has since awarded over $53 million in scholarships, provided 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 more than 17,000 students nationwide each year, and many go on to rewarding careers in the foodservice and hospitality industry.
— Mike Terry