Up Close with CC Minton: Marcus Samuelsson Joins C-CAP Board of Directors

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By CC Minton

Marcus Samuelsson, internationally acclaimed chef, restaurateur and author, was named Co-Chair of the Board of Directors by Careers through Culinary Arts Program along with Mark Weiss, Chief Investment Officer of RFR Holdings.

Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder, will continue as Chairman Emeritus. The Board transition took place on September 30, 2015.

Twenty-five year old C-CAP is an enrichment program in public schools that provides enhanced education, job training and career opportunities in the food industry.  Students are introduced to the program during their sophomore or junior year in high school.   A special apprenticeship program was started in 2014 that provides students with scholarships to New York City College of Technology (City Tech).

Marcus Samuelsson and C-CAP students

“Having Marcus and Mark as a dynamic team will ensure that C-CAP will grow in new ways and continue to nurture the next generation of great chefs,” said Grausman. “Marcus has supported C-CAP’s students and alumni since our early years, and it’s been inspiring to watch his passion for our work grow. Mark’s knowledge of the restaurant industry coupled with his passion for C-CAP and his successful fundraising efforts will be invaluable assets as we look to expand our programming.”

“It’s been amazing to witness and be a part of the important work done by Richard and C-CAP. Doors have been opened for minorities and underserved youth to succeed and career dreams have come true for so many talented students and their families,” said Samuelsson. “Working in hospitality can be incredibly challenging and can seem never-ending, but C-CAP provides a roadmap for these young talents, guiding them along the way. I’m truly humbled for this opportunity to make C-CAP my philanthropic focus and to help transform lives through the culinary arts.”

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C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman

Although Marcus Samuelsson has been traveling abroad, I was fortunately able to connect with him.  Here’s what he had to say about moving forward as Co-Chairman of the Board.

CC Minton:  You have been involved with C-CAP for a number of years. Timing is everything. Was there anything specific that inspired you to make the organization your philanthropic focus? 

Marcus Samuelsson:  As a young chef, I was impacted by many mentors, and inspired by the hardworking ethos of a restaurant kitchen. Hard work, dedication and mentorship, but also a sense of creativity, are what makes a great chef. I wanted to be able to pass on what I’ve learned from my own culinary path and help up and coming minds who may not have a full sense of themselves yet, to realize their full potential and gain confidence. I also really wanted to reach out to local adolescents in Harlem and invite them to work in my kitchen as another way of involving the community and providing opportunities through the restaurant, and opening our doors to our neighbors.

CC:  Do you and the board have any specific goals for C-CAP in the near future that you would like to share?

MS:  We are always looking to reach more students and place more skilled chefs. As a business owner, there is an added value and as a customer there is too. Spreading this vision should be important to everyone who enjoys dining out!

CC:  Are there any plans in the works for students to intern or work in one of your kitchens?

MS:  We have had many students join us from C-CAP in the past, and are looking forward to meeting more students this season. Some of my best staff have come to me through C-CAP.

C-CAP also announced that board member Jeffrey B. Samuels, Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, is joining Tim Zagat, Co-Founder of Zagat, as Co-Vice Chairman. For more info – C-CAP

Photo Credit:  Samuelsson, Grossman & Weiss (Jerry Ruotolo for C-CAP)