September 18, 2014

In the Presence of a Master Chef

By: Helena Stallings, Culinary Arts Student 

As a culinary student, it is my goal to be the best cook that I can be and to really invest in my skills and push my creative boundaries. We have all seen celebrity chefs cooking on T.V, but it is the chefs running 5 star, 5 diamond restaurants that really inspire me. On August 16th a fundraising event was held for the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund and the Colorado Chefs Association Education Fund at the Governor’s mansion in Denver. The event was a chance for several culinary schools, hotels and resorts to meet 11 Certified Master Chefs and showcase a small dish for them. The Auguste Escoffier School for Culinary Arts was one of the culinary schools invited to the event and I was fortunate enough to be asked to volunteer with two of the school’s chefs; Executive Chef Graham and Chef Jonathan, as well as a few other student volunteers. The dish we prepared was a Colorado Lamb Capriccio with quinoa salad, fine herbs and a mustard aioli.IMG_5813

Once the rush of guests calmed down and we were allowed to walk around, I passed by several tables of bread shops, cheese companies, resorts and restaurants and admired the variety ideas that everyone had. This is a creative industry that is always evolving and many chefs devote their lives to finding those new ideas. To be a Certified Master Chef (CMC), one has to devote more than their life to their work and to be in the presence of 11 of them was astonishing. The Master Chef test spans across 8 days and is comprised of several different categories of culinary arts and pastry arts. 98% of the chefs who take the test will fail and it is considered to be the highest level of honor a chef can receive. These men have set the bar high for current and future culinary students and since there are only a few women CMC’s, it has inspired me to shoot for that goal. I was lucky enough to meet the 11 CMC’s at the fundraising event; Bill Franklin, Aidan Murphy, Daniel Dumont,Victor Gielisse, Ed Janos, Steve Jilleba, James Corwell, Helmut Holzer, Michael Robins, Daniel Scannell, Ferdenand Metz, and I believe you can never have too many heroes.