by Kelsey Bugjo0
James Beard House Scholarship Winner: Jarrod Lane
Omaha Steaks is honored to sponsor five culinary arts scholarships each year through the James Beard Foundation, an organization created to continue the legacy of iconic American chef, James Beard. The scholarships are awarded annually to students pursuing many areas of culinary studies including cooking, baking, writing, nutrition, food studies, wine studies, and hospitality management.
We are proud to recognize Jarrod Lane as a 2013 recipient of the Omaha Steaks James Beard Foundation Scholarship. Lane graduated from homeschool in Cartersville, Georgia and moved with his family to Nebraska. where he decided to stay and study Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.
“Being home schooled shaped all of my life in ways that I cannot explain. There were opportunities that I had because I was not required to attend school in the traditional manner. These opportunities exposed me to cooking and experiencing food in many ways. We were able to travel and experience food in different regions. I remember one year that we traveled to Alaska for a few weeks and I was able to see and experience food from that region. So many different things that homeschooling allowed me to do shaped my career today,” Lane said.
He was introduced to cooking at a young age which sparked his passion to pursue a career in culinary arts. “When I was 12, my father went through culinary school. Ever since then, I have worked almost exclusively in the hospitality industry. Right after high school, I was able to plan and execute an event for about 100 people. It was then that I decided this is what I would do. I have focused on my career as a chef and a manager ever since,” he said.
While studying and working his way up the ranks in the industry, he has spent a lot of time cooking and studying the cuisine of the American Southwest, as well as Italian, but explains he doesn’t want to be known for just one style of cooking as he likes variety. Ultimately, he would like to open a restaurant in the Omaha area focused on fresh, high quality food. “My dream is to have a restaurant with a flexible menu that changes with the seasons and focuses on the flavors of quality ingredients. The ingredients are what makes a dish. I want to focus on taking high quality ingredients and getting out all that nature has put into them.”
Lane said the thing he enjoys most about cooking is the process and the expressions diners get on their face when enjoying a well prepared meal. “I enjoy the creativity and work that goes into creating a menu, atmosphere, and experience. I also enjoy the hard work of actually executing that plan. The look of pleasure and happiness when a guest is satisfied is what really makes it all worthwhile!”