This is the Year When Chefs Will Become Front-of-House Educators

There are many challenges that chefs face as a result of a multitude of factors — our industry, the environment, consumer wants and needs, and most importantly, our vision and artistry. Fortunately, chefs are wired to find creative solutions to difficult problems. As I look toward the new year, I am excited by the potential that chefs have to help train and grow our own employment pool and drive sustainable practices as solutions to many of our world's climate and environmental challenges. As restaurants fill their seats with more experienced and savvy diners, the industry is facing a shortage that impacts us all; skilled workers. One of the organizations I spend time working with addresses this directly and will be hugely influential in 2016.  C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program, provides culinary training for under-served youth and helps students to gain entrance to culinary schools, find scholarships and eventually jobs in the work force. They do so by asking industry leaders what training should be mandatory and then turning this into a teaching strategy. The success rate is high and the personal stories coming out of the program are incredible and inspiring. C-CAP benefits not just the restaurants like my own who are challenged with finding reliable and passionate employees, but it benefits the student, the culture of urban American cities and it chips away at the jobless rate in neighborhoods like my own.

Bringing in young talent also gives me the opportunity to teach and elevate the conversations in the kitchen to a dialogue about food waste and efficiency. When I think about Harlem, I see that there is even more possibility for growth in practices that sustain local markets. I speak with my team on daily basis about embracing our neighbors. Communicating with local vendors and farmers help to sustain people within the community and when we utilize local markets to create specific menu items — it reinforces that message to our guests in the restaurant. It's exciting to see dishes in my restaurants, Red Rooster and Streetbird, that were created specifically for what is available locally and seasonally. I truly believe that chefs can be the voice of these kinds of messages — messages that encourage models that are moving toward more sustainable practices in the food system.

In the next year, chefs will be challenged to think creatively about how to use all parts of the plant or animal and make serious considerations for sourcing responsibly. It is critical that as we learn, we teach others what we have learned, through programs like C-CAP. 2016 will challenge us as chefs, to utilize our platform in order to educate each other and reinforce the important messages of sustainable practices in the restaurant and beyond.

This post was originally published in series of posts by LinkedIn Influencers. In this series, professionals predict the ideas and trends that will shape 2016. Read all of the posts here and be sure to follow Marcus on LinkedIN.

C-CAP Announcement

Marcus with Richard Grausman and Mark Weiss As of yesterday, I am so excited (and proud) to announce that, along with Mark Weiss, Chief Investment Officer of RFR Holdings, I have been named the Co-Chairman of C-CAP,Careers through Culinary Arts Program.

I've been happy to serve on the board of directors and support the organization for the last 15 years. With the help Founder Richard Grausman, C-CAP has done incredible work reaching underserved youth interested in the culinary arts and hospitality. The organization has also been a beacon for industry leaders and restaurateurs looking for skilled workers and a passionate younger generation.

It's been amazing to witness and be a part of the important work done by Richard and C-CAP. Doors have been opened for minorities and youth to succeed and career dreams have come true for so many talented students and their families. Working in hospitality can be incredibly challenging and can seem never-ending, but C-CAP provides a roadmap for these young talents, guiding them along the way. I'm truly humbled for this opportunity to make C-CAP my philanthropic focus and to help transform lives through the culinary arts.

 

<b>About Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP)</b> Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is a national non-profit that was founded by Richard Grausman in 1990. The program transforms the lives of at-risk students through the culinary arts, preparing and guiding them for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. For the past 25 years, C-CAP has provided job training and internships, scholarships, teacher training, cooking competitions, college and career advising and product and equipment donations. C-CAP has awarded over $46 million in scholarships through the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the U.S., and classrooms nationwide have received nearly $3.4 million worth of supplies and equipment. Through C-CAP's efforts, a large percentage of its students find rewarding careers in the foodservice and hospitality industry with many alumni, now graduates of top culinary schools working in leading restaurants and hotels throughout the country.

 

For more information, visit www.ccapinc.org and follow C-CAP on twitter @ccapinc.

Fundraiser for C-CAP's 25th Anniversary

Help me raise $25K for CCAP's 25th Anniversary!
Help me raise $25K for CCAP's 25th Anniversary!

I took the first step in my career by training at a local culinary school in Sweden, and while I've come a long way since then, I'll never forget how I got started... That's why I'm so proud to be involved with Careers Through Culinary Arts Program. C-CAPmakes an enormous impact on the lives of at-risk students by helping them build careers in the culinary industry. In honor of its 25th anniversary, I want to raise $25,000 to help them continue the great work. We've already raised over $11,000 for this amazing organization, so let's raise another $14,000!

When you give to C-CAP, I give back to you! The person who raises the most for this great cause will get an amazing trip for two to Bermuda, including airfare, a 3-night stay at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, and dinner at my new restaurant,Marcus'! You can also support this great cause by making a donation. For $25 you’ll get access to an exclusive cooking video, for $50 you’ll also get a signed copy of my new young-adult book, Make It Messy, for $100 you’ll also get a signed copy of my Marcus Off Duty cookbook. Plus, this fundraiser will be timed with the release of a new round of my "How-To" cooking videos! The ideas for these videos were all user generated, so make sure to check out my YouTube and Facebook pages, starting today, as they roll out.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support, and to those who have already donated, in helping these dedicated youths realize their dreams.