by Kelsey Bugjo0
James Beard House Scholarship Winner: Mitchell Chase
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 Mitchell Chase as a 2013 recipient of the Omaha Steaks James Beard Foundation Scholarship. Chase is a 2013 graduate of Osceola Fundamental in Seminole Florida and plans to attend culinary school at Johnson & Wales in North Miami, Florida this year.
Chase’s interest in cooking began in high school. “My mom has always been the chef at my house, and she inspired me to take culinary classes in high school,” Chase said. “Within my first two years, my instructor, Chef T, saw what he called the ‘little chef’ in me and urged me to get more involved in the program. Over the last two years of my high school career, I took over the program. I was my teacher’s sous chef and everyone knew me for cooking. I became the captain of our school’s pro-start culinary competition team and the president of our Family Community and Career Leaders of America (FCCLA) club.”
Chase looked up to his instructor, who he said became his mentor and idol, which is why he chose to attend Johnson & Wales.
“While working towards my bachelor’s degree, I hope to continue working up the ladder behind the line in a commercial kitchen or two. After college, I would like to travel to Italy, where I may learn authentic Italian cuisine,” he explains.
“All my life, pizza, pizza rolls, spaghetti, and lasagna were my favorite foods– when I was a kid and now as I’ve grown older and my palate has advanced. My favorite dishes still follow Italian cuisine such as chicken parmesan, ricotta gnocchi, pasta carbonara, shrimp scampi and chicken cacciatore, but my interest in Italian food will not limit my studies,” he said.
While he has always loved Italian food, Chase is open to studying different cultures and cuisines. “The thing I enjoy most about cooking is the expression of someone eating the food I created. Whether they liked it or not, I like the criticism- is it too spicy or does it need a little more garlic?”