Scholarships Awarded to Aspiring Chefs with Entrepreneurial Spirits
Not long after Lori Verity and Kelly McMoran started their catering business, Yummy Goodness, they had the great fortune of meeting Beth Prever. Beth worked for TowneBank, the largest bank in Hampton Roads, an institution deeply involved in the community and which sponsors all types of events that require catering. Simply put, they landed a dream client.
However, Lori and Kelly got more than just a great customer, they were blessed with a friend and a mentor. “Beth was a key factor in helping us grow our business,” says Lori. “She really liked our food and what we did.” Like all those who knew and loved her, Lori and Kelly were devastated when they learned that Beth had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. After a valiant battle, Beth died last year.
“On the way to the reception, we decided we had to do something to honor Beth’s memory,” says Kelly. Because Beth was a business mentor and a foodie, Kelly and Lori approached the Culinary Institute of Virginia and suggested a culinary contest for female students who aspire to own their own businesses.
It’s called the Beth Williams-Prever Culinary Scholarship Competition. Created as an annual event, participating students must have at least 15 semester credits and a cumulative GPA of 3.5, a resume, letters of reference from instructors and current/past employers, and submit a 250-word essay about their entrepreneurial ambitions. This year, four finalists were selected to advance to the culinary competition.
Appetizers and entrees were the focus of this year’s competition. The finalists had just two and a half hours to complete the challenge. Lori and Kelly recruited some fellow chefs and friends from TowneBank to serve as judges. They observed the contestants from prep to plating, looking at skills proficiency, kitchen sanitation, and time management. During the sampling round, judges scored each dish based on presentation, creativity, and flavor. The year’s winner: Jamyce Freeman who created a meal that truly wowed the judges.
Vietnamese Style Summer Rolls, a delicious and colorful Vietnamese spring roll served with a spicy sauce. Rolls were filled with shrimp, rice noodles, carrots, radishes, cucumber, scallions, and an assortment of fresh herbs. The dipping sauce contained rice vinegar, carrots, green onion, spicy peppers, and garlic, then garnished with crushed peanuts.
Succulent Moroccan Chicken with apricots, olives, and couscous. Chicken was seasoned to perfection and braised in a hot skillet with onions, fresh garlic, mint, and red pepper flakes, cooked until onions are tender; apricots and onions were stirred in with other ingredients and then placed in a preheated oven to finish cooking. Couscous was seasoned with cumin, caraway seeds, cayenne pepper, and chicken stock.
Jamyce won a $2,500 scholarship and the other three contestants received $250 in scholarship money. Congratulations to all four. The judges said scoring was extremely close and found each contestant’s efforts tremendously impressive.