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Chatham County Chef Challenge - The Interviews...

by Tami Schwerin
The Abundance Foundation

As we continue our Chatham County Schools Chef Challenge, we offered the children of Chatham County the opportunity to go visit the Chefs in their environment and see what it is like and to ask questions about what it's like to be a Chef.  The kids that participated either were very interested in becoming a Chef or had a big interest in nutrition.

On Saturday, March 19th, we visited the beautiful Carolina Inn in downtown Chapel Hill. Chef Jimmy's Sous Chef Jeff and General Manager were on hand to host us that day. We learned that they sometimes have 12 weddings in a single WEEKEND. Wow!  They work all weekends, nights and holidays and don't think twice. The kids wanted to know what they liked best about their job - Jeff said "he loved working with Chef Jimmy, being creative and the fast pace of the job". He pointed out that it was a team effort and one of the most important jobs was the dishwasher who rarely gets any limelight! 

Sage Corzine thought it was cool to visit and see a working kitchen. She wants to open her own restaurant one day.  Zafer Estill liked the cookies that Chef Jeff gave everyone.

The next interview was on a cold rainy day with Chef Colin Bedford at Fearrington - the team there was getting ready for weddings! Chef Colin was very generous with his time as he sat in the parlour and answered all of the student's questions. Noah, an aspiring Chef was trying to figure out if he should go to college and then culinary school or just culinary school. Colin had completed college and culinary school in England when he started running a restaurant in Canada at a very early age. Questions were everything from what's your favorite food to what do you need to be good at in order to be a Chef. Colin shared his thoughts on his favorite dish, sausage and brussel sprouts. He gains inspiration from the seasons and enjoys creating new dishes when fruits and vegetables are coming out of the ground. He's passionate about his work and also emphasizes the importance of the team including the dishwashers. The kids went on a tour of the kitchen and finished the visit by decorating cookies and cupcakes.

Claudi Viveros, Chatham County parent emailed me later with much thanks and a very happy child, "Noah and I wanted to thank you for creating a great opportunity for us to meet Colin, understand the goal of the Chatham Chef Challenge and learn more about the Abundance Foundation. Noah talked about his experience the remainder of the weekend with the rest of our family and gave me several hugs throughout the weekend thanking me for taking him to have this experience."

And that's what this project is all about!  We are thankful to the Chefs and staff for their time and to the parents and kids for coming out. 

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