Daniel Boulud Names Kelvin Fernandez for 2018 C-CAP Ment’or Institut Paul Bocuse Scholarship

Chef Kelvin Fernandez
Kelvin Fernandez serves his dish to the judges

After a heated competition at Café Boulud, Master Chef Daniel Boulud named Chef Kelvin Fernandez, recently the Executive Chef at Strand Bistro Restaurant at Marriott Vacation Club’s Pulse Hotel, the winner of the Daniel Boulud/C-CAP 2018 Full-Tuition Scholarship to attend the Intensive Culinary Program at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, as well as a two-week stage at a restaurant in Lyon, France. Competitor Marc Heller, Banquet Chef at The Public Hotel, was awarded a one-week stage in the kitchens of Café Boulud and DANIEL.

“This year’s theme was a celebration of French cuisine, specifically dishes inspired by Paul Bocuse’s chicken with tarragon vinegar. Both candidates demonstrated passion, talent, and creativity. While this signature chicken recipe saw two different interpretations during the competition, the two chefs did a great job capturing the essence and importance of the sauce. Kelvin Fernandez won by a small margin as his preparation really stood out as the most satisfying and balanced dish, and we look forward to guiding him through his stage in Lyon,” says Chef Daniel Boulud.

The competitors presented their dishes to the judging panel: Chef Daniel Boulud; Chef Aaron Bludorn, Executive Chef at Café Boulud; Recipient of the award in 2013, Sous Chef and C-CAP Alum Cesar Gutierrez of Daniel; Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder and Chairman Emeritus, and C-CAP President Karen Brosius.

The Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship was established 13 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 restaurant in Lyon, France.

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 all over the United States, including DANIEL.

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Past scholarship winners include:

2017 winner Brandon Bryan, recently Sous Chef at The Carlyle Hotel.

2016 winner Giovanna Alvarez, currently Executive Sous Chef at Asiate in The Mandarin Oriental. She recently appeared on Food Network’s Chopped.

2015 winner Yvan Lemoine, currently 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 his second book in Spanish, Comidas USA.

2014 winner James Daversa, currently Sous Chef at Uchi Dallas. 

2013 winner Cesar Gutierrez, currently Sous Chef at Daniel. He started working at Daniel as an intern where we were able to observe firsthand how talented he was.   

Sylva Senat, owner of Maison 208 in Philadelphia, and a Boulud Scholarship winner was recently nominated for a James Beard Award and Food & Wine Award, competed on Food Network’s Chopped and Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Season 14. Swainson Brown, another Boulud Scholarship winner, is Executive Chef for the Pridwin Hotel in Shelter Island. Franz Corrales, Executive Chef for Sodexo USA at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., was the first Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship recipient.

Born in New York to Dominican parents, Kelvin Fernandez never dreamed he’d become a chef. In fact, he never showed an interest in food – despite the fact that his dad was a chef – until he enrolled in a cooking class at Long Island City High School in order to impress his high school sweetheart. That class ignited a passion for all things culinary.

Through C-CAP he earned a scholarship to attend The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Now at age 32, Fernandez has made a name for himself as the youngest executive chef ever in NYC’s fine dining scene and was listed on the prestigious “30 under 30” list by Forbes Magazine for food and wine in 2015. He was also a runner-up on Food Network’s Chopped and won competitions on FYI Network’s Man vs. Child and Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay.

Through C-CAP, Fernandez earned a scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America and has graced notable kitchens, such as Water’s Edge, Aquavit, Gotham Bar and Grill, and Café des Artistes. Chef Kelvin moved to Latin cuisine when opening Blend on the Water in Long Island City and at La Marina, the 70,000 sq. foot operation in Washington Heights. Chef Kelvin recently helmed the kitchen at the Strand Bistro Restaurant at Marriott Vacation Club’s Pulse Hotel in NYC where he served American food with a Latin influence.

Marc Heller has been affiliated with C-CAP since 2006 when he attended Tottenville High School and participated in the C-CAP Cooking Competition for Scholarships. The judges recognized his talent and he was awarded a scholarship to attend the New England Culinary Institute (NECI).

Combining his talent for cooking and his passion for traveling, he made his way to Orvieto, Italy, where he learned rustic Italian techniques at Zeppelin Ristorante. Marc went on to intern at a hotel in Israel, where he lived and worked for over a year. From Israel, Marc landed a six-month opportunity to work at the decorated Depot Oyster Bar in Auckland, New Zealand, to learn the Kiwiana-style cuisine.

Since his return to New York, Marc has mentored and hired C-CAP students for summer internships at Bodega Negra at the Dream Downtown Hotel and The Standard Hotel; assisted at the C-CAP Annual Benefit and was a featured guest chef at a C-CAP Junior Benefit.  Marc is currently Banquet Chef at Public Hotel in New York City.

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