Get to Know Our 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Winners: Meet Aaron B.
Learn more about the winners of this year's #CulinaryVoice scholarship contest
This year, the Institute of Culinary Education partnered with ABC's The Chew on the third #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Contest, in an ongoing effort to find the next generation of culinary talent. Together, they challenged aspiring chefs around the nation to submit a 60-second video explaining why he or she should be given a full scholarship to attend ICE. Five winners were chosen from hundreds and now, we're sharing their stories on DICED — learn more about Aaron's journey below.
Aaron always wanted to host his own culinary show. But he concealed this goal, while cooking alongside his parents as a child, and made the “safe decision” to attend University of Illinois where he’d study to become financial analyst. While in college, though, Aaron couldn’t get away from cooking. He helped his fraternity brother who was opening his own restaurant and now teaches cooking classes in Illinois. With his 2018 #CulinaryVoice scholarship, Aaron will use this opportunity to provide gain a strong foundation of technical skills he knows are fundamental to his future as a chef. Aaron will be joining ICE as a Culinary Arts student.
Name: Aaron B.
Hometown: Harvey, IL
Program: Culinary Arts
Campus: New York
His earliest memory of food or cooking is...
Making instant Ramen with my father when I was about six years old. I thought everything was so cool: the fire, saucepan and watching the noodles cook. I watched him pour some of the water out after the noodles were cooked and he let me stir in the seasoning. The best part was eating it — they tasted so good.
His favorite dish to prepare is...
I really love making stir-fry. There are some stretches over the last two years when I’ll make stir-fry almost 3-4 times a week. It's so easy to make it quickly, with tons of veggies, and lots of spice! The Jasmine Rice on the side is awesome, too. It reminded me of the Chinese take-out memories I share with my brother. Seeing Stir-fry pop up for second challenge in the competition was really awesome and comforting; it felt like I was cooking at home.
(Watch below to find out what the judges think of Aaron's stir fry.)
If he could eat anywhere in the world, it would be...
There are too many places to name. If I had to decide between all the places that come to mind, Cuba is high on my list. I think the atmosphere has the most to do with that — the weather, dancing, culture, music and food. That combination of things would create an amazing experience.
When he’s not cooking, he likes to...
Play video games, binge watch Netflix and spend time with friends. I really enjoy watching videos from Bon Appetit, Munchies and Vice on YouTube.
He was inspired to enter the #CulinaryVoice Scholarship contest because...
I saw it as an opportunity to make a strong push in my career and really develop into a leader in the food industry. The adjectives that were used to describe the applicant they were looking for fit me. I have a strong desire to be a leader, educator and student of food, and the contest just felt right in my heart and spirit.
(Watch Aaron's entry video below.)
The experience of competing for the scholarship on The Chew was...
Eye-opening: So many friends supported me throughout the entire process. My friend and fraternity brother took time to help shoot and edit my video. Everyone I knew (and some I didn't know) were super eager to spread the news of the contest. My spirit was shining bright throughout the process, and having everyone supporting me was so cool and humbling. This experience helped me understand that I have a lot of people watching me and they are proud of what I'm doing.
Once he starts ICE, he’s most looking forward to…
That's a tough question. There are a ton of things I'm looking forward to learning. The hi-tech facilities at the school and having access to the best equipment, like the Polyscience Rotovap, and the best instructors the world has to offer is really exciting.
Along with that, I want to keep my word to Chef Michael Garrett. He mentioned to all the scholarship winners to never be late or miss a class. I'm prepared to hold up my end of the agreement.
Five years from now, he will be…
Doing instructional videos for people that want to learn how to prepare simple dishes for their everyday lives. I want to help others really take control of their diet, spending habits, emotional and spiritual connection with food, and pushing it in a positive direction.
Outside of my career, I believe I will be happily married and begin exploring different parts of the world, such as Thailand, Italy, Ghana, Egypt and Turkey, with my wife to experience different food and cultures.
His culinary voice...
Needs some more age, to be honest! I feel my voice is still adolescent, but will mature as time goes on. There is so much for me to learn. However, there is excitement, passion, patience and wisdom all within my culinary voice. I know it will show more clearly as time goes on.