Daniel Boulud hosted the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Culinary Competition at Café Boulud to determine the lucky young chef to receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend the Intensive Culinary Program at the Institut Paul Bocuse, plus a two-week stage at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon, France.
This year’s competitors were Brandon Bryan, Sous Chef, The Carlyle Hotel, and Abdallah Farraj, Chef de Partie, Dovetail, both in Manhattan. Each competitor was given a Market Basket with ingredients to create and prepare a soup and a main course to present to the judging panel: Chef Daniel Boulud; Chef Aaron Bludorn, Executive Chef at Café Boulud; Executive Sous Chef and C-CAP Alum Cesar Gutierrez; Pastry Sous Chef Jeremy Archereau of Daniel; and Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder and Chairman Emeritus.
A day before the competition, Brandon and Abdallah toured the Michelin-starred Café Boulud and were invited into the kitchen to begin prepping. The C-CAP alumni were tasked with creating unique dishes, using 10 ingredients, but not necessarily in both dishes. Then on the morning of the competition, the candidates began prepping at 9:00 a.m. The first competitor presented at 11:00 a.m., followed by the second candidate. The judge’s announcement was made shortly after 12:00 p.m.
Each candidate answered a brief questionnaire about the selection and culinary techniques behind his dish. Judging criteria included concept, temperatures, presentation, and technique.
The judges were impressed with both dishes, and ultimately handed the prize to Brandon Bryan for his first course-Mushroom and Almond Velouté with Salsify chip and Pickled Lemon Gremolata, and his second course Chicken Three Ways: Chicken Roulade stuffed with Wild Mushroom and Watercress Chicken Legs, Coq Au Vin style Chicken Thighs Confit Squash Puree, Leek Potato Gratin.
But the judges also loved Abdallah’s dishes, his first course-Veloute au Poireau Chaud a Warm Leek Veloute with Leek Confit, Leek Custard, Salsify-Almond Crumble, and Watercress Oil, and his second course-Taste of France: Caul Fat Wrapped Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Bacon Force, Potato Gratin, Roasted Acorn Squash Puree and Chicken Jus.
Abdallah Farraj didn’t walk away empty-handed. He was handed a completely unexpected award, a one-week stage in the kitchen of Café Boulud and DANIEL.
Brandon Bryan will be honored at the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) New York Awards Breakfast on April 7th. He will leave for France in May, and not only train at a legendary culinary institution, but have the chance to stage in some of the most notable kitchens in Europe.
The Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship was established 12 years ago when Daniel Boulud received a birthday grant of $100,000 from his business partner Joel Smilow. Chef Boulud continues to obtain funding for this scholarship from Ment’Or, a not-for-profit, devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. The scholarship includes tuition, transportation, room and board, uniforms and cookbooks, a two-week stage at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon, France, and is valued at over $17,500. The winning alum’s experience in France will last from approximately May 8 through July 3, 2017.
Together with C-CAP, Daniel Boulud has sent a number of talented young chefs to Lyon, who have returned to attain prominent positions in restaurants.
Past scholarship winners include:
- 2016–Giovanna Alvarez, Executive Sous Chef at Asiate in The Mandarin Oriental. She recently appeared on Food Network’s Chopped.
- 2015–Yvan Lemoine, Executive Chef at Union Fare in New York City. He was the runner-up on the eighth season of the Food Network series Food Network Star, and is the author of Food Fest 365!: The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook and Comidas USA.
- 2014–James Daversa, Executive Sous Chef at Catch LA.
- 2013–Cesar Gutierrez, Executive Sous Chef at Café Boulud. He started working at Daniel as an intern where we were able to observe firsthand how talented he was.
–Sylva Senat, Boulud Scholarship winner, nominated for a James Beard Award, Food & Wine Award, competed on Food Network’s Chopped and Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Season 14.
–Swainson Brown, Boulud Scholarship winner, Chef de Cuisine at The Writing Room in Manhattan and Executive Chef, The Pridwin Hotel in Shelter Island.
–Franz Corrales, Executive Chef for Sodexo USA at Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, D.C., was the first Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship recipient.
About Brandon Bryan: Brandon grew up in the Caribbean on the island of Jamaica. He attended Long Island City High School, participated in C-CAP, and in 2008 competed in C-CAP’s NY Cooking Competition for Scholarships where he was awarded a scholarship to attend The Institute of Culinary Education. A culinary professional for 10 years, he has trained in the kitchens at Payard Bistro, Ruby Foos, Tavern on the Green, BLT Prime, Balthazar, and Benoit Bistro. At the Carlyle Hotel, he serves over 550 covers nightly in the 86-year-old landmark.
“C-CAP and Founder Richard Grausman have taken the time to show me how much they believe in me and have provided the best resources to help me succeed in my career.”
About Abdallah Farraj: Abdallah grew up in in Richmond County on Staten Island. He attended Port Richmond High School, participated in C-CAP, and in 2013 competed in C-CAP’s NY Cooking Competition for Scholarships where he was awarded a scholarship to attend Monroe College. He has worked in the kitchens of Bouchon Bakery, Ai Fiori, and was on the opening team of the Starr Restaurants celebrated Le Coucou before recently joining Dovetail as Chef de Partie.
“C-CAP placed me into the industry at a fairly young age, and without them, my career would have taken an entirely different course. C-CAP’s National Career Advisor Christine Lee became my mentor and her guidance is what made many opportunities, past and future possible.”
To learn more about C-CAP, visit their website.