by Kelsey Bugjo0
James Beard House Scholarship Winner: Miranda Hill
Above: Culinary student Miranda Hill garnishes a dessert that she and her partner designed for their final project. It has a layer of chocolate flourless cake, chocolate orange mousse, and chocolate discs. It is served with cinnamon chantilly, orange sauce and orange cinnamon ice cream.
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 Miranda Hill as a 2013 recipient of the Omaha Steaks James Beard Foundation Scholarship. Hill is a baking and pastry arts student at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where she also serves as a tour guide for the program.
Hill explains she became interested in cooking during her last two years of homeschooling and her parents encouraged her to look into the culinary program at the vocational high school. “It was there that I really discovered my passion for baking and pastry. In my senior year, I was allowed to concentrate specifically on baking and pastry classes, and my love for the pastry arts was fueled. It was then that I realized I wanted to pursue the career further.”
“My favorite thing about baking and pastry is the opportunity to be creative and use my artistic skills in desserts. My favorite thing to do is build and decorate tiered cakes,” she added.
Hill’s ultimate goal is to become executive pastry chef in the hotel and resort industry, where she can lead people and successfully run a bakeshop operation. “I specifically want to work in hotel and resorts because I enjoy large-scale production in a place where everything is done, including banquets, wedding cakes, breads, and restaurant desserts.”
She would also like to eventually become a teacher in the profession. “I would like to give back to the industry and share my knowledge, just like the chefs who have taught me so much,” she said. “I enjoy helping others, and I feel that I would gain much joy and satisfaction by being a pastry arts instructor.”
While she says she has had many outstanding chefs at the CIA, the chef that most inspired her was her pastry instructor Chef Carter at the vocational school she attended. “I had him as an instructor for my entire senior year, and learned so much from him. He was the one who first saw the potential in me, and believed that I could go very far. My self-confidence used to be fairly low, and he challenged me to push myself to dream big.”
In her scholarship essay, Miranda stressed the importance of passing on knowledge to the next generation, just like James Beard. “A great chef may have a wealth of knowledge, but what good is that knowledge if it is never shared? If there are to be advances in the culinary realm, we must be willing to learn from others, and, in return, be willing to teach what we know.”