2012-09-20 / Living

Culinary Call

Bendle High senior aspires to be next ‘Urban Chef’
BY TARA MORENO
810-452-2645 • tmoreno@mihomepaper.com


Bendle senior Victoria Ervin has loved cooking since she was 4 years old. Recently, she won the semi-finals to the Flint Farmer’s Market with the CrimFitness Foundation and Mott Community College’s Next Urban Chef competition. 
Photo provided Bendle senior Victoria Ervin has loved cooking since she was 4 years old. Recently, she won the semi-finals to the Flint Farmer’s Market with the CrimFitness Foundation and Mott Community College’s Next Urban Chef competition. Photo provided BURTON — Bendle senior Victoria Ervin has loved to cook since she was 4 years old.

She would often cook with her father and grandparents who have Mexican and Southern family roots. Growing up, she considered cooking “just a hobby,” until she was encouraged by an instructor at Bendle to enter the Flint Farmer’s Market, Crim Fitness Foundation and Mott Community College’s Next Urban Chef competition.

The contest promotes healthy cooking and encourages choosing local foods for young adults as part of the Next Urban Chef’s Detroit-Flint Regional Food System (Metropolitan Agriculture) team.

The network of individuals and organizations within the Detroit-Flint area made the team come together to create innovations by connecting and amplifying projects that are already under way. Ervin said learning from this organization helped her culinary arts greatly.

This past summer Ervin trained with Flint chefs Douglas St. Souver and Nate Brown. Ervin, along with a variety of students from around Genesee County, showed up at Mott College kitchen every morning for six weeks on Wednesdays to prepare for the contest. She learned the specialty of sauce making and learned how to stuff chicken. She said the training also “strengthened her knowledge” in the tastes and spices associated with culinary arts.

The competition consisted of “face offs” with different students at the Flint Farmer’s Market outside of Artisans Gourmet Deli in September. Ervin went up against Pauly Lewis, a young man from Northwestern High School, and won the competition.

She said everybody has strengths and weaknesses and it is always important to improve where the weaknesses might be.

Ervin is set to compete against the winner of the Detroit semi-final competition to determine the Next Urban Chef winner. Lewis is set to be her sous-chef in the final competition, which will be held Oct. 13 and 17 at the Flint Farmer’s Market.

Ervin said she planned on attending Saginaw Valley State University for Special Education but since has had a change of heart. She is now sure that culinary arts is not a hobby but a career path.

The Next Urban Chef competition is a free event. For more information, contact the Crim Fitness Foundation at 810- 235-3396.

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