I had the pleasure of attending the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) awards lunch in Philadelphia last week – celebrating the success of the 2013 C-CAP finalists in the region.
It was inspiring and, at times, quite emotional as I witnessed literally life changing moments for some of the students. One of the top awardees was stunned when his name was announced for the four year full tuition scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and the teachers I sat with during lunch could not contain their joy on hearing their student’s name called for a full scholarship to the Art Institute for Philadelphia. They were on their feet instantly clapping and cheering at his success.
It was a fascinating glimpse into the culinary world where young students at the start of their journey sit with chefs who do it all: run their own restaurants, are Executive Chefs, teach culinary arts and at least one who had “done Chop’t” (she couldn’t tell us the outcome as it has not yet aired).
I was there to award an AICR scholarship prize to the student who entered our Healthy Dessert Competition. We partnered with C-CAP to introduce these high school students, largely from underserved communities, to the concept of cooking for cancer prevention. Armed with a list of “superfoods” and the AICR dietary guidelines, their mission was to develop an original, healthy and tasty dessert.
The results were outstanding and Shameer, our winner from Philadelphia, created a Chocolate and Blueberry Tofu Mousse. Tofu was a completely new food to him and he experimented with several healthy options before hitting the jackpot with blueberries as the flavoring agent.
What better time to influence potential chefs about the links between food and our health, than at the beginning of their professional training. Cooking for cancer prevention is gaining popularity in the specialized health field. We want to make it mainstream – starting with the chefs of the future.
Congratulations to Shameer and all the C-CAP winners. You can try out Shameer’s Chocolate and Blueberry Tofu Mousse with Sesame Crunch on our Recipe page.
Here’s more about C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program.
Deirdre McGinley-Gieser is AICR’s Vice-President for Programs. You can also follow her on Twitter at