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Richard Grausman



July 4, 2012

Students benefit from annual culinary fundraiser and see a bright opportunity ahead in kitchens
By Francine Cohen

Photo by Jerry Ruotolo

On this Independence Day 2012 we want to share with you a heartwarming story of independence creating a bright future for our industry, as seen through the lens of the C-CAP benefit which took place a few months ago. This year’s annual gala, the most successful in C-CAP’s history, raised over $900,000, thereby creating real opportunities for a whole new crop of budding chefs.

The annual C-CAP ( gala at Pier Sixty ( was the back drop for more than 800 guests who enjoyed an evening of signature dishes presented by 38 of New York’s top chefs with wine donated by The Charmer Sunbelt Group ( Over 60 New York City C-CAP high school culinary students and graduates assisted the chefs of these renowned restaurants. “This walk-around tasting event raised funds to support C-CAP’s mission of providing scholarships, education, and career opportunities in the culinary arts to underserved youth who are interested in pursuing careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry,” says C-CAP’s president, Susan Robbins. “For more than 20 years, we have been breaking the cycle of poverty for hundreds of qualified students across the country. We continue to manage the largest independent scholarship program and have awarded over $34 million in scholarships.”

Dreams of working in restaurant kitchens come to life for so many disadvantaged youths thanks to Careers for Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). Started 22 years ago by Richard Grausman as a small local non-profit, C-CAP has grown into a major nationwide program providing support for thousands of youths wishing to enter into the exciting field of the Culinary Arts. Last year alone, C-CAP impacted the lives of over 12,000 students in 164 schools through training, career service and scholarships.

The scholarship pool grew deeper at the 2012 gala which honored Michael McCarty, Proprietor of Michael’s NY ( and Michael’s Santa Monica ( “This year, C-CAP was thrilled to honor restaurateur, art collector, entrepreneur, vintner, and Continue Reading…

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December 19, 2011

The gift that just keeps giving
By Francine Cohen

This holiday season there are plenty of gifts exchanged; some awful that you can’t re-gift them fast enough, and others so perfect only you could have picked them out yourself.

MOZO shoes are that one gift you’ll be glad you gave yourself; so stylish and comfy that nobody else (but another chef/bartender/server/manager) would understand the bliss you feel knowing you’ve stopped the pain in your back and your feet before it even had a chance to flare up.

MOZO brand President, Stuart Jenkins, explains why his team of shoe designers and engineers from the Deckers Outdoors ( – the parent company who also brought us TEVA and UGG) partnered with chefs Chris Consentino, Macus Samuelsson, and Aaron Sanchez to design these new shoes for those who spend their working hours in the back and front of house. He says, “Why is it that someone should be spending 8-10 hours a day on their feet without having the benefits of comfort and sustainability of comfort? We would like to think we can make any 8 hour shift better than it has been in the past.”

He continues, “Our shoes feature The Uniframe design which includes MOZO’s trademark gel insoles and slip-resistant outsoles, as well as side vents that aid in moisture and heat management. MOZO offers durability in cushioning, traction, support and craftsmanship and has certified slip-resistant outsoles through a unique Spider Traction™ compound. The exclusive TripleFit System™ lets users customize the volume inside their shoe by a half size, larger or smaller. The one thing this line of product brings to the industry is that they are extremely light weight while offering proper cushioning and insoles and construction. MOZO gets people out of sneakers and puts them into traction for safety.”

With the intent of creating shoes that are made to mold to the foot and let it breathe, a critical element during active and lengthy shifts, Jenkins and his team set out to make a shoe that is not only functional but also fashionable and fits the lifestyle. He explains why, “When I watched through the trade shows and looked at the shoe exhibits I saw what people were making and you had two choices, black or white. It seemed to me that the product the shoe industry was offering was out of touch and there was a huge misstep between the market and the products it was being offered. There was no real choice, no sense of performance, no artisanship, no inventiveness. Yet when you talk to the chefs and observe their culinary style you realize that they are athletes, creators, and perfomers, and they do all this under tremendous pressure.”

Chris Consentino of Incanto (, Boccalone ( and Offal Good ( knows a little something about pressure Continue Reading…



August 8, 2011

CHOPPED: August 9th appointment television not to be missed
By Francine Cohen

Just because you didn’t get a reservation for Chef Kelvin Fernandez’s Chopped Tasting Menu and Viewing Party tomorrow night but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun and see this culinary whiz in action.

Vicariously…Catch him on The Food Network’s Chopped tomorrow night, August 9th, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Or set your DVR; this is a competition you’re not going to want to miss. (

Within arm’s reach…get yourself to The Strand American Bistro at the Strand Hotel ( and check out the on-the-plate moves of this young chef who started out his career at the age of 15 and, in roughly a decade has worked his way up to become an Executive Chef.

From his enrollment in a culinary class in Long Island City High school and then landing his first job working under Michelin star Chef Georges Masraff at the Waters Edge restaurant in Queens, New York, Fernandez has always been compelled to excel in the kitchen.

His dedication at school, and in Masraff’s restaurant, led him to get involved with C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program – a not-for-profit organization that promotes and provides foodserve career opportunities for disadvantaged youth through culinary arts education and employment. ( and that involvement resulted in a $40,000 Scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America.

His CIA training provided a strong foundation that enabled him to succeed in such notable New York City kitchens as Aquavit (, Town, Gotham Bar and Grill ( and Café des Artistes. Fernandez notes, “Working under great chefs like Marcus Samulesson and Alfred Portale enabled me to develop the skills I needed to land a job as Executive Sous Chef at Café des Artistes at the young age of 21.”

Youthful passion breeds hard work and commitment for this chef who recently landed the role of Executive Chef. Fernandez says, “I’m excited to truly put my passion to work to create a great dining experience for each and everyone of our guest. And, I always will continue to find time to do charity events, cooking demos at my old high school, and encourage students how important education is.”

Delivering that education message may be just a little easier for this chef who recently presented a cooking demo at Macy’s ( and now will be seen by Food Network’s millions of viewers; even if he is chopped (we can’t reveal the outcome) the Chopped platform and exposure to input from host Ted Allen ( and the judges is invaluable.

Fernandez concludes, “Being on Chopped means letting the world see my passion for cooking and how dedicated and motivated I am to making all my dreams come true. I started here as Chef de Cuisine, and Now I’m the Executive Chef at the Strand.”



February 11, 2010

Chefs Michael Lomonaco and Alfred Portale take a moment at C-CAP Benefit 2009

C-CAP’s 20th Anniversary Benefit features NYC Celebrity Chefs and High School Student Volunteers at Gala Tasting Event

On Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., at PIER SIXTY at Chelsea Piers, The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), the non-profit organization that since 1990 has awarded high school students $28 million in scholarships, and donated $2.3 million worth of supplies and equipment to classrooms, will host its 20th Anniversary Celebration.

This year, C-CAP is honoring chef, author and TV personality Marcus Samuelsson for his extraordinary achievements and contributions to the culinary industry, his long time dedication to C-CAP and his commitment to nurturing the next generation of chefs. As this year’s honoree, Marcus Samuelsson will receive the C-CAP Honors Award for his ongoing work with C-CAP providing internships, job shadows and jobs for students, and serving as a judge at the annual C-CAP NY Cooking Competition for Scholarships.

Past recipients of the C-CAP Honors Award include Drew Nieporent, Alfred Portale, Continue Reading…