Thursday, February 22, 2018

Meet Reynolds Culinary Students 

Caroline Horiuchi and Denton Taylor

2018 Elby Student of the Year Award Winners*


Caroline Horiuchi 


Photo by Richmond Magazine
What motivated you to study culinary arts?
My motivation for studying culinary was actually my mom. She taught me how to cook, starting when I was pretty young. We would cook dinners for the family together. What can I say? She is an amazing mom and an even better cook, she is the inspiration behind my cooking. 

Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am in my second year at Reynolds studying Pastry Arts. I am in my last semester of classes, and will be doing my capstone in the summer to finish up my degree.

What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on really trying to reach out, and look for job opportunities in the Pastry industry. Whether it be in a local bakery or in the resort and spa arena. 


What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
As a student my favorite task is bread baking. I love all things bread. Bread is my true passion. I enjoy finding new recipes from all over the world and bring them to life in the oven. I find it fascinating to see how the bread is the center of every civilization. That is a topic for another day. 

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
When I graduate I hopefully will be using the basic skills that I have learned here at Reynolds and enhancing them through practice and observation. I truly want to get some further experience under an executive pastry chef, I feel that will be very beneficial to me getting where I need and want to be. 

To be awarded the designation of Elby “Student of the Year” you are a dedicated student. Who has motivated you along the way?
There have been many people including my friends, chefs, and instructors that have motivated me along the way. All of these people have pushed me to be a better version of myself, and I am truly grateful. My family, however, has been my biggest bit of encouragement from day one. They are my harshest food critics, but also my strongest support. They are my rock. 

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?

I think that being in the culinary program is very rewarding, in so many ways. I would have to say that the culinary program is not easy, it takes a lot of dedication. But the hard work does pay off in the end.  I think that being in this program has been amazing, because we are one big family.  We all are driven by the same passion, and that is food, which makes it easy to relate to each other. Even though we all have the same passion, all of our visions are very different and unique to each one of us. We learn a lot from each other and I think that has been something really amazing for me to see. This program pushes you to grow in ways that you didn’t even know you could grow.

* * *

Denton Taylor


Denton Taylor
Photo by Richmond Magazine
What motivated you to study culinary arts?
I went to college after High School to study Business Administration. It never occurred to me to go to school for what I was passionate about, instead I went for what made the most sense. When I moved down to Richmond it was my first time living on my own and with that comes great responsibility. I had to start cooking for myself, got very creative with it, and eventually fell in love. It took me a little bit to find out about the Culinary program at J. Sargeant Reynolds but as soon as I did I applied, and the rest is history!

Where are you in your culinary studies?
I am in my second-year spring semester as a full-time student. After I complete this semester I will have about 9 credits to take over the 2018 summer semester while applying for graduation!

What are you working on now?
My classes right now are Menu and Recipe Management, Nutrition, and Food and Beverage Service Management. I am also participating in my 400-hour Culinary Management Externship at Wegmans Food Market. This externship has allowed me to utilize everything I have learned and am learning now in the program in a professional industry setting.
  
What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
Besides the obvious answer being cooking, I love learning about the industry standards and trends that once were and what they are now. Knowing the history behind the industry is often very valuable in understanding why the industry is the way it is now and where it is headed.

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
I would love to open a Gastro Pub that focuses on food quality, presentation, and beers and wines local to whatever area I decide to settle down in. I also want this idea to have an emphasis on sustainable and local food sources.

To be awarded the designation of Elby “Student of the Year” you are a dedicated student. Who has motivated you along the way?
Motivation stems from all mentors and role models I have in my life. These include my mentors at school, work, my family, and my friends. I will say the most important and powerful source of motivation in ones’ life is ones' self. I was not always this driven and was often distracted by things that were not important to my overall successes, short or long term. It was up to me and only me to change my behavior, motivate, and believe in myself. You are your greatest ally and enemy. Finding an equilibrium between the two can be a very powerful thing.

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
I would tell them to head in a direction that they are passionate about and that brings them happiness. I found out at an early age what really makes me happy and I went with it. It happened to be food and the foodservice industry. The Culinary program at Reynolds is an excellent place to start if you share the same passions as me. The program is in goods hands with Chef Jesse Miller there to lead and there is no ceiling on how great he and the program will be. 

*  What are the Elbys? For the past seven years Richmond Magazine has hosted their annual Elby Awards to recognize the best of the Richmond restaurant community. The "Elbys" are special awards like the Oscars or Emmys of food. The awards were named after master chef Chef Paul Elbling, who now oversees Richmond's French Food Festival. 

Why are the Elby's Important to Reynolds? Elbys are given in 17 categories. Winners are crowned as Richmond’s next culinary best and brightest. One award category is "Culinary Student of the Year." Each year since 2013 a Reynolds culinary student has won this prestigious award. This year two Caroline Horiuchi and Denton Taylor share the honor.