A Fashionable Feast for “Tomorrow's Chefs”
On June 12, 80 of New York’s most vibrant personalities from across the fashion and culinary spectrum gathered at the home of American fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo. Together, they raised $18,000 for Tomorrow’s Chefs, an organization created to support, nurture, inspire and advance the culinary arts by providing mentorship and scholarships to at risk high school students.
The idea for Tomorrow’s Chefs stems from Michael Evan Blum, a culinary arts professional and current Sales and Marketing Director for Beemster Cheese. Blum was inspired to start Tomorrow’s Chefs after his cousin, Melissa Chesman, exposed him to the work being accomplished by Urban Arts, a program that creates and funds arts programs for underserved urban schools.
“Our mission for Tomorrow’s Chefs is simple,” said Blum, “We will connect local high schools with their communities and culinary schools, fostering an increased awareness of the culinary arts and aiding in raising the graduation rate of our youth.”
With the focus of Tomorrow’s Chefs beginning at the local level, the program can create so-called “food communities,” in which schools, supermarkets and restaurants can work together to cultivate a future for the scholarship recipient.
The recipient of the first Tomorrow’s Chefs scholarship is Jesse Wright, a student from Blum’s hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia. Jesse, a product of foster homes since childhood, landed in the Children’s Home of Wheeling, where his skills and passion for cooking were soon realized.
“I’ve had a lot of people in my life tell me that I couldn’t do it or wouldn’t make it [as a chef],” Jesse said. “I’ve been through a lot of placements and I can see why they would think I couldn’t do it, but I feel that I shouldn’t let them put me down, [or] get in my way.”
With the help of Tomorrow’s Chefs, Jesse will have the opportunity to have his dreams realized. As the program continues to grow, Jesse will soon be one of many deserving students who want to pursue their careers in the culinary arts.
Photo: Celebrity pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini and American fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo