Chaya, which made a year-long commitment to aid C-CAP’s (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) Adopt-A-School program that trains high school students in gastronomy and its orbiting elements, is hosting the “Top Tuna Tartare Chef” competition tomorrow morning at Chaya Downtown. Three groups of five students repping Westchester, West Adams, and Hollywood Highs will square off with help from Chaya’s chefs. The student that prepares the best tuna tartare lands their recipe on Chaya’s menu through 2010 and also wins their own professional chef's knife.
The event is being judged by Chaya’s executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe, Chaya Downtown’s chef de cuisine Kazuya Matsuoka and Mitzie Cutler, executive director of C-Cap. Tachibe went to each of the three schools last year to show students how to make the dish at the center of the ring tomorrow.
We spoke briefly with a student serving at Chaya Beverly Hills’ recent anniversary party who was grateful to have the program, which nearly lost its funding last year, to provide alternative opportunities in his life. Before stepping into the restaurant and C-Cap, he said he’d considered McDonald’s “fancy food” and with most of his family incarcerated, thought culinary job training was an encouraging path to a different future. More information on C-cap can be found on its website.