C-CAP Alumni Chef Awarded Culinary Exchange Scholarships to Japan and China

Joyce Appelman C-CAP

Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Announces The Gohan Society and The Joyce Chen and Helen Chen Foundation Fund Awards to Chef Brother Luck of Colorado Springs—Culinary Exchange Scholarships to Japan and China.

With the support of The Gohan Society, C-CAP Arizona Alum Brother Luck, Chef/Owner of Brother Luck Street Eats in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was awarded a two-week scholarship to Japan to explore Japanese culture and cuisine.  In addition, he was also awarded the inaugural The Joyce Chen and Helen Chen Foundation Fund Scholarship, extending his cultural experience into China for an additional week.

Chef Brother Luck
C-CAP Arizona Alum Brother Luck, Chef/Owner of Brother Luck Street Eats in Colorado Springs, Colorado

“Japanese and Chinese ingredients inspire my cooking style, I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn authentic cooking techniques and explore the food culture in both countries,” says Brother Luck, a graduate of the C-CAP Arizona program, who previously received a full tuition scholarship from C-CAP to the Art Institute of Arizona. “C-CAP has supported my career since the very beginning, and I am very grateful to C-CAP, The Gohan Society, and The Joyce Chen and Helen Chen Foundation Fund for these special scholarships.”

The Gohan Society U.S.-Japan Culinary Exchange Chefs Scholarship Program is a ten-day gastronomic  exchange program designed to educate and inspire American chefs on the principles of Japanese cuisine and culture. Brother Luck was selected to represent C-CAP and will travel with three U.S. chefs to Tokyo and Ishikawa Prefecture, where they will study Japanese cuisine, learn cooking techniques, and new ingredients from highly skilled Japanese chefs.

Saori Kawano launched The Gohan Society in 2005 to foster an understanding of Japanese culture and heritage in the United States through outreach to chefs, culinary arts professionals and others who enjoy Japanese culture and cuisine. The Gohan Society offers master classes for chefs, lectures on Japanese tools and ingredients, workshops for high school students, culinary classes for the public, and scholarships for chefs to study in Japan.

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“I hope The Gohan Society scholarship will be the first step toward increasing the understanding and use of Japanese ingredients, techniques and products and serve as a catalyst for expansion of that knowledge in the United States,” says Saori Kawano, C-CAP Board Member, founder of The Gohan Society and president of Korin Japanese Trading Corporation. “As a C-CAP Board member, I am dedicated to promoting the understanding of Japanese cuisine and culture beginning with our students in high school and continuing throughout their entire careers.  I am thrilled to be awarding this scholarship to Brother Luck, who is a talented chef from humble beginnings, who has shown a true appreciation for learning more about Japanese culture.”

This is the first year that C-CAP and The Joyce Chen and Helen Chen Foundation Fund have partnered together for a scholarship, building on the longtime relationship, as Joyce and Helen Chen have been supporters of C-CAP since the organization was established in New York in 1990.  Joyce Chen and C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman shared a mutual enthusiasm and desire to help educate young people in the culinary arts. Over the years, the Chens have donated equipment and ingredients to C-CAP classrooms.

Joyce Chen was a Chinese-American chef, restaurateur, author, television personality, and entrepreneur.  She was instrumental in introducing and popularizing authentic Chinese cuisine to America – particularly the eastern and northern cuisines of Shanghai and Beijing. The U.S. Postal Service has honored her accomplishments and influence on American cuisine by including her in its Celebrity Chef Forever stamp series, released on September 26, 2014, which commemorates five chefs who revolutionized cuisine in the United States — Joyce Chen, Julia Child, James Beard, Edna Lewis, and Felipe Rojas-Lombari.

Helen Chen established the fund to preserve her mother’s legacy with scholarships to aspiring culinary students through the auspices of the C-CAP program.

“I am thrilled to announce that Chef Brother Luck, a C-CAP graduate and recognized chef, will be the first recipient of The Joyce Chen and Helen Chen Foundation Fund travel grant to China this summer where he will have the opportunity to experience, first hand, some of the country’s vast and extraordinary cuisine and culture,” says Helen Chen.  “My mother would be so happy and gratified to know that her long- hoped- for wish to support and further culinary education will finally be realized through this scholarship to her beloved China.”

The Scholarships cover all travel and housing expenses during his stay in Japan and China.

“My career as a chef has taken me further than I’d ever imagined, but there is so much more to achieve,” Says Brother Luck.

Brother Luck was born in San Francisco and raised in a situation most couldn’t imagine.  Both parents lived in Japan years before he was born, and he remembers growing up in a household where they still lived as if they were in Japan.  They spoke fluent Japanese and loved to talk about the amazing country and the food.  They enrolled him in a Japanese elementary school to begin his appreciation of the culture.  His father died when he was 10 years old and shortly afterwards his mother ended-up in prison, leaving him to fend for himself.  Those were the roughest years going through adolescence.  Eventually an amazing woman who had one rule-in order to stay in her home “go to school and graduate” took him in.  He enrolled into the culinary program and C-CAP at the age of 16 at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix, Arizona and it changed his life.  The kitchen became the place where his passion was fueled to learn about food and culture. C-CAP spotted his talent and commitment to pursue a career in the culinary arts.  He competed in the C-CAP Arizona Cooking Competition for Scholarships and was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to attend the Art Institute of Phoenix.  While at the school, he studied with Chinese Master Chef Bill Sy and was dazzled by watching him carve the most beautiful fruits and vegetables and made Dim Sum so elegantly that he couldn’t process his ease of the skill.

Brother Luck worked his way from the bottom of the industry to owning his own restaurant with his name on the door. He was the executive chef for many restaurants including Craftwood Inn restaurant located in Manitou Springs featuring local Colorado cuisine and wild game selections, and the Hotel Contessa, a personal luxury hotel located in San Antonio, Texas featuring the signature restaurant Las Ramblas which specialized in Spanish cuisine. Prior to that post, Chef Luck was the executive chef for the World of Whirlpool facility: a private 28,000 square foot conference center in Chicago. His background also includes a role as executive sous chef for the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Chef de Cuisine for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and guest chef at the famous James Beard House in New York City.

On Sunday, June 26, 2016, viewers watched Brother Luck beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. He will also appear on an upcoming episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network.

For more information about The Gohan Society, visit http://gohansociety.org; and about Helen Chen, visit http://helensasiankitchen.com

Joyce Appelman
Joyce Appelman is the Director of Public Relations and Special Events for Total Food Service and previously the National Communications Director for C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program. An industry leader supporting education and scholarships, she has been instrumental in opening career opportunities for many young people in the foodservice industry. Email her at joyceappelman@gmail.com