James Beard himself said it well, “Just as other people find it in painting or in music…our students are people who find in cookery a fulfillment of their creative needs.” Since 1991, The James Beard Foundation has been offering scholarships to young, brilliant minds that aspire to work in the culinary world.
One of the recipients of a James Beard scholarship chose to bring his talents to One Ocean Resort. Sous Chef Lamar Evans received the Mildred Amico Scholarship in 2009 and will be assisting at the Friends of James Beard benefit dinner taking place at One Ocean on Sept. 12, 2013 from 6-10 p.m.
Recently, Lamar answered some questions regarding his involvement in the James Beard Foundation, predictions for the 2013 benefit dinner and advice to those seeking a career in the culinary arts.
Q: Would you be able to speak a bit more about your position at One Ocean and how it relates to your past experiences with the James Beard Foundation?
LE: Currently I am one of the sous chefs at One Ocean Resort. Myself, along with the other sous chefs, have a huge responsibility at One Ocean Resort. We are constantly pushing ourselves to be the best and suppress our competitors. Executive Chef Ted Peters, who is the culinary director of Remington Hotels, Luxury Division and the mastermind behind the One Ocean concept, has assembled a team of extraordinary chefs who are passionate about food. I’m honored and grateful to be the 2009 Mildred Amico Scholarship recipient from the James Beard Foundation. Volunteering at the James Beard House gave me the opportunity to work with many chefs from all over the world and interact with members of the James Beard Committee.
Q: Did One Ocean’s involvement with Friends of James Beard influence your decision to apply for a position with the resort? What are your thoughts on this year’s Friend of James Beard benefit dinner?
LE: Prior to applying to One Ocean, I learned that the James Beard Foundation is affiliated with One Ocean Resort. This sparked my interest to pursue a career with One Ocean knowing that they are involved with hosting charity events to sponsor young shining culinary starts and maintaining the legacy of James Beard. I predict that this year’s James Beard benefit dinner will be a fantastic, entertaining event, with lots of fun and good food.
Q: What sparked your interest in cooking?
LE: At the age of fifteen I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. My Aunt Veronica introduced this interest I had for food. At family gatherings I would watch her as she prepared exotic family meals and saw the passion she had while cooking. While attending school at the New York City College of Technology I would volunteer at the James Beard House for charity events. I chose to be a part of this industry because it is extraordinary, exciting, unique, has unlimited opportunities and you never stop learning.
Q: How has the James Beard Foundation and receiving the Mildred Amico Scholarship aided you in your culinary education and career?
LE: Mildred Amico, a mother of five, has been a program director at the James Beard House for over twenty years. She has worked with many chefs around the world to orchestrate plenty of dinners held at the Beard House. Her hard work, ambition, and dedication to this industry sparked my interest to pursue a career as a chef. I am happy to see and hear the legacy of James Beard continues to aspire others until this day.
Q: Where did you go to school and what did you earn your degree in?
LE: In June 2011, I obtained my Bachelors of Technology degree in Hospitality Management at New York City College of Technology located in Brooklyn, NY.
Q: What is your favorite dish to prepare?
LE: My favorite dish to prepare is pasta and utilizing any ingredients that are in season. I love to be creative and using ingredients that are on hand to create something extraordinary.
Q: Any advice for those who wish to pursue a culinary career?
LE: To the young aspiring culinary – keep on believing in your dreams. Work hard, stay focused, never give up, and don’t forget where you’re coming from. It was not easy working a full time job, attending school full time, and volunteering twice a week at the James Beard House. I kept on pushing myself because I knew that one day my hard work would be recognized.
The third annual Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner will feature five prominent area chefs from the picturesque beaches of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The five-course benefit dinner proceeds contribute to scholarships for culinary education, similar to that of One Ocean’s Chef Lamar Evans. With highly acclaimed wines from Foley Family Winery, gourmet cuisine from our region’s top chefs and an inspirational cause that celebrates the future of the culinary world, this is an event that shouldn’t be missed.
To learn more or to reserve your seat at Beard on the Beach, please visit www.oneoceanresort.com/jamesbeardfoundation.aspx.