Darien is a winner of the 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Contest from the Institute of Culinary Education and ABC's The Chew

Get to Know Our 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Winners: Meet Darien W.

Learn more about the winners of this year's #CulinaryVoice scholarship contest

Thumbnail image: ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua

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 Darien's journey below.

After high school, Darien W. followed the path his family set for him, enrolling in Arizona State University to study public policy law. But fate clearly had other plans: after starting his own catering business to help fund his education, Darien realized his heart wanted to follow a different road. So, like many ICE students, he changed gears and decided to pursue a career in culinary arts. His new direction led him to the 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Contest, where he went on to compete in the finals and win a full ride to attend culinary school. Darien will be joining ICE as a Culinary Arts student.

Here is a bit about Darien and his culinary voice:

Darien-W_CulinaryVoice-Winner-2018.jpegName: Darien W.
Age: 22
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Program: Culinary Arts
Campus: New York 

His earliest memory of food or cooking is…

Growing up, it was our tradition to meet at my grandmother’s house every Sunday after every church service to eat and enjoy the company of family and friends. Seeing how happy the meal made everyone inspired my interests and understanding of not just food but how to properly prepare it. When both of my grandmothers saw the passion and joy cooking gave me, they started showing me the basics. 

His favorite dish to prepare is…

SALMON! I love it. My favorite dish to prepare is my five-spice glazed salmon with sautéed spinach, garnished with sautéed mushrooms and poached garlic. The flavor is well-balanced. It has a kick from the spices and sweetness from the brown sugar glaze. 

If he could eat anywhere in the world, it would be…

Why is this question so hard? If I could eat anywhere in the world, it would probably be somewhere with a robust culture. I love diversity of cultures in food and experiencing different tastes and different methods of preparing food.

When he’s not cooking, he likes to…

Paint. When I’m not wearing my chef’s toque, I’m wearing my artist’s smock. God instilled many gifts in me at an early age and artistic talent was one of them. I am most familiar with acrylic on canvas; friends and colleagues have even commissioned paintings from me.

(Watch Darien's entry video below.)

He was inspired to enter the 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Contest because...

My passion for cooking and my drive to always become a better version of myself is what led me to enter the #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Contest. I thought: win or lose, you won’t know unless you try. 

The experience of competing for the scholarship on The Chew was...

Amazing! New experiences can often seem scary but with this particular experience, I felt great because I was competing for something that I am truly passionate about. 

(Watch the thrilling moment when Darien learn's he's won a surprise scholarship to ICE.)

Once he starts at ICE, he’s most looking forward to…

The FULL experience — the good and the bad. However, I’m most excited about the hands-on learning. I’m about to graduate with a degree in public policy law, so culinary school will allow me to switch over from being a linguistic learner to more of a kinesthetic learner. 

In five years from now, he will be...

Cooking on my own television show while having at least one of my very own restaurants opened in the city that started it all for me: my home, Las Vegas.

His culinary voice is…

A journey. One that I am still on, searching for a higher understanding of different techniques and methods on how to properly prepare food. 

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