At the age of 16 Cesar was introduced to the C-CAP program, which helped led him to work at BLT Prime, his first kitchen. Through the C-CAP cooking competition, Cesar was able to attend the French Culinary Institute and, eventually, with the Daniel Boulud/ C-CAP scholarship, he attended the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. This scholarship allowed Cesar to travel and stage in various restaurants in France and Brazil. He has worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants including Daniel, Picholine, and now Café Boulud.
It was amazing! The school is structured to teach the students to be able to work in Michelin star restaurants. The chef instructors are so knowledgeable and they work really closely with the students (I used to wake up early to meet them at the market before school). Couldn’t ask for a better experience.
It has changed my perspective in many ways. When I was abroad I used to be able to see rolling hills of pasture with cattle grazing or a small river cutting through a small town, vineyards, small farms and now I see tunnels when I get on the train. It was such a great way to begin the day. Even taking a 2.5 hour break in the middle of the work day was mind blowing to me.
I’ve definitely matured so much as a chef in these last 10 years. I can see my personal development whenever I am coaching one of our cooks through a cooking process or walking with them through the market while we gather stuff for a special. Even when we scrub the kitchen at the end of service.
When I turned 25 I took a step back from being an executive chef so that I may continue my personal development as a chef. Through the advice of C-CAP, I landed a spot at Café Boulud. From chef Aaron I’ve learned to be more organized and to pay close attention to the cooks. From Chef Daniel I have learned the importance of developing young cooks.