An aspiring Bronx culinary artist recently worked at one of New York City’s newest fine dining restaurants.
Victoria Helwig, a Woodlawn resident and Careers through Culinary Arts Program student, recently wrapped up working this summer at ‘Untitled’ at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District.
Helwig described her time at the new restaurant from chef Michael Anthony and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group as an educational experience.
“At Untitled, using the freshest ingredients is very important and most of the produce we used is sourced from local markets,” she explained. “I had the opportunity to go and observe how the chefs select the best fruits and vegetables as well as learning about and working with ingredients like chickpeas that are still in their pods or cranberry beans.”
Helwig earned this rare opportunity through C-CAP’s Job Training and Summer Internship program which she first participated in three years ago.
This program presents a select group of students with the opportunity of working in the food service industry as they hone their craft and learn while working alongside such world famous chefs as Daniel Boulud, Marcus Samuelsson and Michael White in some of NYC’s top kitchens.
Her introduction into culinary competition was at C-CAP’s Cooking for Scholarships Culinary Competition where she was awarded cash scholarships from Les Dames d’Escoffier NY and C-CAP Education Fund.
She competed in America’s Best High School Chef at Monroe College and was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to study hospitality management and culinary arts at Monroe’s New Rochelle campus.
Helwig explained she has had many different experiences working in culinary arts as a Food and Finance High School student and from C-CAP programs.
Helwig added, she first learned about C-CAP through her chef instructor, chef Michael Lynch, who explained how C-CAP prepares students for college and careers in the food service industry through their programs.
“I had never been in a professional kitchen before C-CAP and knowing that they would help me get my foot in the door is what really got me excited to join,” she shared. “I have had so many opportunities since because of the doors that C-CAP opened for me.”
The future culinary artist participated in four different internships since sophomore year of high school including New York Times Cafe, Nougatine at Jean Georges, Telepan and more recently Untitled.
In addition, she was involved in several industry events such as the New York City Wine and Food Festival, the Fancy Food Show and the C-CAP Annual Benefit.
Inspired by the famous chef Gordon Ramsey, Helwig said it would be a dream come true to work for him.
She offered the following advice to those looking to pursue this field of work: “Have you ever peeled garlic for three hours? This career requires dedication and hard work, but if it’s what you truly love to do, it will be worth it,” she said.
Helwig’s future in culinary arts is still on the burner and she wants to experience all of its possibilities.
“What I learned from all I’ve done is that I can become an executive chef in a fine dining restaurant, a business owner or a chef at a catering company,” said Helwig. “The possibilities are endless and I don’t plan on settling down any time soon!
“I have too much to learn and plan to make myself available to new experiences while continuing to push myself,” she added.