A senior at Long Island City High School was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., as the top prize at the Careers through Culinary Arts Program New York Awards Breakfast at the Pierre Hotel earlier this month.
Elmhurst’s Yi Jing, 18, a product of the school’s Culinary Arts and restaurant Hospitality Management Academy, captured the full-ride worth $128,364. Three of her classmates also won partial scholarships.
“My dad was an inspiration,” Jing said. “He works in restaurants and at a young age, he made delicious food for me on his days off. It is something I would like my future family to experience.”
The C-CAP Cooking Competitions for Scholarships are hosted around the country and teach invaluable skills of discipline, commitment and drive to underserved teenagers at risk of leaving high school without a job or college prospects. The students were graded by a panel of judges on presentation and taste, but scholarships were also awarded based on their transcripts.
“I applied to Long Island City High School because they had a culinary program,” Jing said. “After all these years, I’ve become more confident in my own skills. Instead of shying away from opportunities, I now embrace them believing that new opportunities mean more knowledge. LICHS and C-CAP have given me my first job and even prepared me for interviews. I am very thankful.”
She also has a greater appreciation for the teamwork that is needed in a large commercial kitchen.
“At a young age, I admired the executive chef and sous chef for being able to oversee the whole kitchen and making original menus,” Jing said. “Now, however, I realize that each member of the kitchen needs to be appreciated. The kitchen is composed of a team not just one person. Not one person can complete each aspect by themselves. The kitchen only works efficiently as a whole.”
Her classmates at LICHS, Jaycee Fernandez, Daniel Flowers, and Christian Ochoa were awarded partial scholarship worth $5,000 to $6,000. Mariah King, a senior at August Martin High School in Jamaica, was the only other winner from Queens taking home a $1,000 scholarship.
Jing must now decide if she wants to study nutrition at Johnson & Wales University or restaurant and hotel management. She wants to gain more experience in the kitchen and other aspects of the industry before she decides what part of the business she wants to enter.
“It’s a known fact that there are not as many females who work in the kitchen or in the food industry compared to the amount to the amount of men,” Jing said. “When I enter the food industry, I want to be a leader. I want to oversee certain parts of the restaurant or hotel and be in management. Becoming someone who is looked up to by others would be a dream come true.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr