Annual Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Junior Benefit Raises $30,000 at ‘A Taste of Fall’

At the end of October I wrote about a great benefit called “A Taste of Fall” that was being held November 12th at Marcus Samuelsson’s Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The benefit was the 4th annual Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Junior Benefit, with proceeds going to support this great program which provides culinary career opportunities and scholarships to at-risk high school students. It’s a phenomenal program, and I was thrilled to hear that the benefit raised $30,000. Congratulations to everyone involved!

At A Taste of Fall C-CAP Junior Benefit
At A Taste of Fall C-CAP Junior Benefit
(L to R) Lester Walker, Susan Grausman, Richard Grausman, Marcus
Samuelsson, Deborah Grausman, Susan Robbins, Yvan Lemoine

C-CAP Junior Benefit Raises $30,000 at A Taste of Fall

New York, N.Y.—C-CAP-Careers through Culinary Arts Program reports that, with the efforts of its Junior Committee, led by Deborah Grausman, it raised more than $30,000 at the 4th Annual C-CAP Junior Benefit, A Taste of Fall, on November 12, at Ginny’s at Red Rooster.

C-CAP Graduate Chefs, working in top New York restaurants, prepared delectable bites for the exciting walk-around-tasting.  “Raising over $30,000 was only one of the accomplishments of the evening. The event also provided a learning experience for recent graduates, who assisted their fellow, more experienced alumni, to prep and serve these impressive dishes,” said C-CAP’s President, Susan Robbins.  “Proceeds from the event will benefit C-CAP’s programs and services that transform lives through the culinary arts.  More than 150 young philanthropists turned out to raise funds to support our talented at risk youth.”

Kelvin Fernandez, Executive Chef at Strand American Bistro, prepared Butternut Squash Soup; Executive Chef, Sean Quinn, of Chadwick’s Restaurant, served BBQ Pulled Pork “Cone-Ucopia;” Sous Chef, Cesar Gutierrez, of Lexington Brass, created a Miso Butternut Squash Puree with a Pumpkin Chip; Brandon Bryan, of Benoit, made a Cod Bradade; Lester Walker, owner of Ghetto Gastro, served up the “GG Soul Roll;” Pastry Cook, Santo Saitta, from Bar Boulud, offered a Pomme Caramel Confit; Stephanie Grajales, of The Ritz-Carlton Central Park’s Auden, whipped up a Pumpkin Cheesecake and Red Velvet Cake Pops; and Mehdi Chellaoui, from Chellaoui Chocolatier, treated us to truffles and hot chocolate, with chocolate donated by Chocolate Springs.  Lastly, Red
Rooster, provided an African lamb stew served in a hollowed-out, mini-bread bowl.

The evening was enhanced by C-CAP graduate, Food Network Star finalist, and featured mixologist, Yvan Lemoine, of Arlington Club, who created specialty cocktails, and a dynamic speaker—Chopped Champion—Lester Walker.  Beverage sponsors were Chopin Vodka, Charmer Sunbelt Group and Stone Brewing Company.  There was also superb music from the David Grausman Trio.

The 24 one-of-a-kind silent auction items included prime theater and opera tickets, paired with backstage tours, and numerous cooking, baking and wine classes.  Each attendee also received a Zagat Survey NYC Night Life Guide and Zabar’s and Harold Import Company provided gift bags for each chef.

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Chef/Owner of Red Rooster and a C-CAP Board member, attended the event and said, “I am so proud of the C-CAP graduate chefs and  thrilled to donate the space to host the event. “

Careers through Culinary Arts Program Press Contact:
Joyce Appelman
PH: 516-482-1016

A Taste of Fall: The 4th Annual C-CAP Junior Benefit, November 12th at Ginny’s in NYC

It’s hard to turn down dinner and live music, isn’t it? Now add to that the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing that you’re contributing to a program that helps a lot of young people. Pretty much impossible to say no to, right? If you’re inclined, I have the perfect event for you.

The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is holding their Annual C-CAP Junior Benefit on Monday, November 12th at Marcus Samuelsson’s Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The menu is going to be prepared by some of New York City’s up-and-coming chefs, all of whom benefited from the C-CAP program. It’s a great event that is sure to be a blast. Check out the following release for all the information, and be sure to get your tickets today!


The 4th Annual C-CAP Junior Benefit
Monday, November 12, 2012, 6:30-9:00 PM
Marcus Samuelsson’s Ginny’s at Red Rooster

October 16, 2012, New York, NY—Young professionals, ages 21-45, will not want to miss this extraordinary event.  Guests will enjoy a walk-around tasting at one of New York’s hottest venues— Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s Ginny’s at Red Rooster (310 Lenox Avenue) in Harlem.

A Taste of Fall will feature savory and sweet signature dishes prepared by up-and-coming C-CAP graduate chefs who are cooking in top restaurants in New York.  The illustrious restaurants and chefs participating include:

Brandon Bryan, Benoit
Mehdi Chellaoui, Chellaoui Chocolatier/Dörk Chocolate
Kelvin Fernandez, Strand American Bistro
Cesar Gutierrez, Lexington Brass
Sean Quinn, Chadwick’s Restaurant
Santo Saitta, Bar Boulud
Lester Walker, Ghetto Gastro

Ginny’s at Red Rooster, located in the heart of Harlem, has graciously donated the space, and its food will be featured at the event.  The evening will include superb wines donated by Charmer Sunbelt Group, craft beer from Stone Brewing Company, cocktails sponsored by Chopin Vodka, an exciting silent auction and live music by the David Grausman Trio.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a pioneer and national leader in providing culinary career opportunities and scholarships to at-risk high school students. As a national nonprofit, C-CAP manages the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the United States. Since 1990, students have been awarded $37 million in scholarships, and classrooms have received donations of $2.8 million worth of supplies and equipment.

Tickets are $150 per person, payable in advance.  Tickets go on sale October 12, 2012 and are expected to sell out.  ID’s will be checked at the door.  To purchase tickets by credit card:

For more information about A Taste of Fall including sponsorships please visit or call Amy Wickstein at (212) 974-7111. 

The Coppa “Yes, Chef” dinner with Marcus Samuelsson

“Swedeiopian”. Obviously a fusion of two words, two nationalities, Swedish and Ethiopian. It’s a word I had never heard before, but it perfectly described the evening I had at Coppa in Boston’s South End last Monday. The “Yes, Chef” dinner with Chef Marcus Samuelsson, born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, was an event that highlighted just how good combining things can be! A little Ethiopian. Some Swedish. And, why not toss in some Italian as well!

That’s exactly what Coppa’s Chef Jamie Bissonnette did for this event. It was an interpretation of Ethiopian and Swedish dishes and flavors, with an occasional flash of Italian (Ethiopian & Swedish Pizza, anyone?). Addressing the assembled guests, Coppa co-owner and Chef Ken Oringer pointed out the fact that Jamie and his team had put considerable time in to planning the menu for the event. Apparently the first time Jamie even had the opportunity to experience traditional Ethiopian fare was the day prior, at Addis Red Sea on Tremont Street! (On a side note, I had the pleasure of sitting at a communal table with one of the chefs from Red Sea. If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking them out.)

Chefs Jamie Bissonnette, Ken Oringer, and Marcus Samuelsson

The food

The menu for the event was most definitely unusual, but was also quite brilliant. It was an eclectic mix of flavors and ingredients that I personally had never experienced, and doubt many in attendance had either. Of all things on the menu, I was excited to try the berbere roasted rabbit. I first learned of berbere while reading Chef Samuelsson’s memoir “Yes, Chef”. Berbere is a mix of spices: chilies, paprika, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon. I’m not certain of the exact quantities Jamie used for his berbere, but I was impressed that it didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the rabbit (Which for the record… tastes like rabbit. Not chicken.).

There were plenty of other highlights on the menu. My wife was just short of chasing down hors d’ouevres trays carrying chicken fried zucchini flowers with a Buna coffe aioli, the aioli in particular adding a nice kick to the zucchini flower. A not so typical smörgåsbord was also off-the-wall great. I made multiple visits to the pickled vegetables, in particular the carrots, as well as the sweet & savory candied peanuts.

An amazing end to the night came in the form of a blåbärssoppa. A blueberry “soup” panna cotta. It was extremely light, with a perfect texture, which has to be expect of an Italian enoteca, regardless of what the inspiration for the overall meal was! It was a great finish to a great meal.

At the end of this article you’ll find a full transcription of the entire menu from the evening. It’s drool-worthy… and I didn’t even include the wines!

Man of the hour (or four)

Chef Marcus Samuelsson

While the Ethiopian and Swedish cultures are inspirational all their own, this event was ultimately inspired by an individual who embodies both: Chef Marcus Samuelsson. From the moment we walked in to Coppa, Chef Samuelsson was making the rounds. He spoke with everyone. He shook hands. He even served the berbere roasted rabbit to the Red Sea chef sitting at our table (she’d never tried rabbit before and was unsure that she wanted to). Chef Marcus made it happen.

That’s the charm of Chef Marcus. He has a quality that is very disarming. An easy, genuine smile that is contagious. An event of this kind obviously requires that attention be paid to those in attendance, but at not point did it feel like Chef Marcus was “on the clock”. He enjoyed wine and food with the rest of us, answered some questions, cracked a bunch of jokes. And of course chalked us up as one of the better book dinners thus far (“Nobody rocks like … Boston!” [“He said Boston!!!”]).

Prior to the dinner, I had already managed to read about half of “Yes, Chef” on my Nook. Now, with a freshly signed hard copy, I look forward to finishing off the fascinating memoir of this amazing individual.

In the end…

The entire experience from start to finish was, in a word, inspiring. Amazing food. A boat load of culinary firepower. The opportunity to be around that much food knowledge is downright humbling for a foodie, and it is most definitely a night I won’t soon forget. I look forward to a “family reunion” with our table-mates one day at Red Rooster. To the entire team at Coppa, a heartfelt well done. To Chef Marcus Samuelsson, thank you  for sharing your story and your passion. And, do I look forward to crossing paths again?

Yes, Chef.

Hors D’ouevres

Kitfo – Ethiopian beef tartare on injera
Raggmunk – Swedish potato pancake with crab and corn
Chicken fried zucchini flowers – Buna coffee aioli
Inlagd Oysters – Pickled oysters with korarima and coconut


Shiro – Yellow eye pea puree with baharat
Inlagd Anjovis – White anchovies with lovage & black olive
Inlagd Grönsaker – Pickled vegetables
Swede Rotmos – Green rutabaga and carrot salad
Sweet & Savory Candied Peanuts

Ethiopian & Swedish Pizza

Gomen Wot – Braised greens with favas and tomatoes
Falukorv – Smoked pork offal and beef sausage with ricotta

Sunday Supper

Berbere Roasted Rabbit
Mac n’ Greens – House made cavatelli with Swiss chard & cloth bound cheddar
Kolo and Kale Salad – Puffed barley and kale salad


Blåbärssoppa – Blueberry “soup” panna cotta

Blueberry “soup” panna cotta