Cook Masters Program: Meet The Class Of 2013

As we speak, the class of 2013 is beginning their first day of the COOK Masters Program–an intensive, hands-on class in breakdown and butchery being taught by Jon Cichon of Lacroix. They brought their knives. Most of them showed up in their whites. And the very first thing they get to face down? Taking the heads off of whole chickens brought in as their training materials for Day One.

We thought it might be nice, at this early moment in their education, to take a look at the 10 students making up this first Masters Program class. After all, if we here at Foobooz and the team at COOK all did our jobs well, some of these cooks will grow up into the chefs you’ll be reading about here in years to come. And now you’ll get to say that you knew all about them back before they were cool…

UPDATE: Now with 100% more Sandy Trinh!

The COOK Masters Program Class of 2013

Name: Christopher Ritter

Current Position: Line cook, Brauhaus Schmitz

Chris’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Thai Singha To Go

What is the exact moment you realized you wanted to be a chef?

“March 13th, 2010 at Mission Street Food. This meal–itself not necessarily spectacular–really opened my eyes to a new type of restaurant experience that emphasized ambition, creativity and fun without sacrificing technique or quality in the dishes. The food was intellectually engaging without being alienating. I realized if I could achieve something like that, I would be happy spending the rest of my life in a kitchen.”


Name: Kevin McDevitt

Current Position: Chef, Hop Angel Brauhaus

Kevin’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Pub & Kitchen

What is the one kitchen utensil you could not live without?

“I feel most would say chef knife (no shit). I look at my knife as a gimmee, like salt in a recipe. Up until 8 months ago, I would’ve said tongs. That’s before my co-worker and I got into a debate about the most ‘useful’ kitchen utensil during dinner service. I chose tongs, he chose spoon (he was classically trained). We did one service without tongs and one service without spoons. Long story short, he was the undisputed winner. My tasting/sauce spoon is king in my kitchen and I couldn’t work a day without it.”


Name: Brandon Zeller

Current Position: Senior, Drexel University, studying culinary arts

Brandon’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Zahav

What is always in your refrigerator?

“Being that I’m a broke college student… Cheese, eggs, bacon, milk and beer.”


Name: Joshua Houtz

Current Position: Senior, The Restaurant School At Walnut Hill College, Lead Cook, StoneRidge Retirement Living

Joshua’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Brauhaus Schmitz

Previous positions:

Chewy’s Food Truck, The Union League of Philadelphia, Marigold Kitchen, Top Chef: The Tour.


Name: Nana Wilmot

Current Position: Prep Cook, Wolfgang Puck Catering

Nana’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Sbraga

Guilty pleasure?

“Cold Stone’s “Love It”-sized birthday cake and sweet cream ice creams with Snickers, caramel, chocolate sauce and coconut flakes. Good lord.”


Name: Sandy Trinh

Current Position: Sous chef, Kraftwork

Sandy’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Nam Phuong

If you could prepare a meal for 3 people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you serve?

“Eric Ripert, Julia Child and Nikola Tesla. I would want to keep it casual and serve a piping-hot bowl of pho with tripe, tendon and the eye-round beef raw on the side. Nothing too fancy. I want to have a casual conversation with these people.”


Name: John Boswell

Current Position: Student, Drexel University

John’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Pub & Kitchen

3 words that describe how you are in the kitchen?

“Hard-working, young and inquisitive”


Name: Paolo Rivera

Current Position: Student, Culinary Institute of America

Paolo’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Village Whiskey

If you could work under any chef in the world, who would it be?

“The first chef who came to mind was Marco Pierre White. He is a mad genius and an idol for most cooks today. The opportunity to work under his command at Harvey’s would have been a life-changing experience. He demanded the best from every single cook  and mistakes meant a verbal lashing and possibly pots thrown your way. But at the end of the day, he was incredibly talented, passionate and would make you into a stronger cook deeply rooted in French technique.”


Name: Mike Hatgistavrou

Current Position: Student, Drexel, “Majored in film. It was a mistake.”

Mike’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: Barbuzzo

Guilty pleasure?

“I think microwaveable White Castle hamburgers are incredible”


Name: Derek Steel

Current Position: Unemployed

Derek’s Favorite Restaurant In Philly: The Royal Tavern

What is your favorite place to shop for food in Philly?

“The Hung Vuong market at 11th and Washington. A simple stroll through there makes you realize that there are many, many different ways to cook.”

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  • SandyKay

    Meet nine of the students..

  • Jason Sheehan

    Looks like we accidentally forgot Sandy Trinh in the video. Apologies, Sandy. We’ll get this fixed as soon as we can.

  • Natalie

    Where are all the ladies?? Let’s develop more female chefs in this city.

    Will say the number of Drexel students is shocking and exciting!

  • Token

    This is a interesting game for this team. With last weeks performance comes some expectations already, fair or not. I expect them to beat this Chargers team. Short week, cross country trip for a 1pm game. Home opener.

    But this is the type of game even the good Andy Reid teams would tend to lose. I want to see how this team comes out. Are they reading their own press clippings or are they going to come out focused and intense like last week?

    • GumboGumbo

      It’s fair to ask whether or not the Eagles are smellin themselves right now. If they come out on Sunday and roll the Chargers we’re gonna have a media circus on our hands. Mikey Miss’s phone lines will be blowin up!

      • Dubiy

        After we lose 1 game I can’t wait to see every single media outlet claiming that __ team figured us out and its all a gimmick

    • BleedGreenJames

      One would hope that the last couple of years served as a healthy dose of humble pie. Shady said it on an interview with NFLN when asked if the rushing record was in his sights, even when he had his best season, the team wasn’t winning and it really undermined the significance of the achievement.

  • GEagle

    Strongly suggest everyone checking out billy Davis interview with misanelli…Tell me who billy Davis sounds like…lol 500pts to the winner ha

    • Mr. Wu

      he kind of sounds like Charlie Manuel… just less oldish …and less “things like that”

      • GEagle

        lol….I meant, what does what he says in that interview sound like?….He does have that uncle Charlie southern Twang tho…he kind of addresses are recent media over reactions lol..

        billy D: “Trent goes 100mph every snap he ever played, whatever you ask him to do, he is doing it with so much passion, heart and anger that he gets the job done..We have many ways of getting any of the outside backers OUT OF COVERAGE if we need to for whatever scheme presenting us, or we can put em in coverage when it serves our purpose the right way or we have many ways to get them out of coverage when it doesn’t serve us…..we can fire both OLB, we can drop em both, fire 1 and drop the other, put em on the same side and bring them both or drop them both…it’s the fun part of the scheme that we can do a lot of different things with those two guys”

        All the Doom and gloom questions about our DE turned OLB NFL defensive coordinators are NOT stupid. When I talk about our defense, I’m confident saying what they will do because I know that If I KNOW SOMETHING OR SEE SOMETHING, there is no way in hell that our coaches don’t know it and don’t see it for themselves. these guys aren’t idiots….which is why all the alanalyst being skeptical about Kelly’s offense drive me insane…”oh my god, how will they ever sustain this over 16 games? How won’t we wear down Shady? What are we going to do when defensive coordinators shut this down, or take this away from Chip? Hahahahahahaha sillyness! Any questions the skeptics might come up with I can assure our thorough thinker of a coach has already thought of them and answered them…If Chip didn’t already know the answers to the skeptics questions about his offense, we wouldn’t even be running that offense. This man knows his offense better then me, you, any analyst or writer…so sit back, enjoy the ride knowing that your HC is fifteen steps ahead of all of us
        Kelce: “we have been conditioning ourselves to play this way since before April. if you are going to wait til the week before you play the Eagles to get some extra sprints in, it just won’t be enough, but teams are welcome to tire themselves out the week they play us, while we gradually conditioned ourselves to get to this point.(Coaches suggest that our Olinemen take Oxygen masks after every series)…

        Riley: The sports science is unreal. the recovery stuff that we do, the recovery shakes that we do, the whole team, even the coaches got in the ice bath today after practice. we do a bunch of stuff to help our legs….everyone is completely bought in. we believe in Chip Whole Heartedly….it’s just a whole different feel and energy(novacare complex)
        Billy Davis on CDub: “Cary is a competitor and is very serious about his profession. In practice he is as focused and as all in one day at a time as you can be, and if he is competing and he fights? A FIGHTS A FIGHT!!! That has never…I seen thousands and thousands of fights as a coach in practice and they never amount to anything. Just two guys aggressively going at it, it goes a little farther and blows up at the end of the play and then it’s over and you goal to the next play. Cary is no different. he is a fiery competitor and I’m so glad we have him. The game he played and the way he took every snap in practice and then took it to the game that’s exactly what a pro does. You work your tail off in Practice and when the game comes its not too big for you, you challenge people, put your hands on em, lock em down, cover em, make plays at the ball, we blitzed him he got the sack. THAT’S WHAT PRO’s Do!!! I KNOW THERE HAS BEEN ALOT OF OTHER NONSENSE AROUND HIM BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY HE WORKS VERY HARD! PRACTICES VERY HARD! TAKES GREAT NOTES….SO FROM MY SEAT I HAVE BEEN VERY HAPPY WITH CARY”
        Misanelli Joked “So that Damn media blew it all out of proportion”
        Billy Joked “No, No..I’m just giving you my point of view..I’m explaining my world to you
        Billy on the challenges of practicing against Chip(THIS IS AWEOME):
        “It makes us be great communicators. And I don’t feel sorry for these defenses that Face Chip, only because I want them to add loud music, make the pace go even faster then they allow in a game, and that’s what WE face in practice every day. We can’t hear ourselves talk, think, communicate cause the music is so loud, he’s running different personel groups In and out, we are challenged to change. WE ARE FORCED TO HANDLE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF STRESS IN OUR COMMUNICATIONS! ALIGNMENTS! OUR CALLS..every day in practice…and when we handle that kind of stress in practice, when we get to a game that’s where chip makes our defense so much better as a defense because now its not as hard in a game as in practice to communicate and make our checks and get our alignments’s such a blessing, I guess it’s making us that much better because we have to practice under those circumstances”
        How the hell is Phillip Rivers, that whack line and wimp of a RB going to confuse our young, Fiery, Hungry Defense…led by Good Cop/Bad Cop Meco and CDub?..Not Gonna Happen….FLY EAGLES FLY!!!!

    • Dubiy

      he really said hes the least knowledgeable person in the defensive meeting room lmao….

      • GEagle

        he is soooo the man!!! Philly, prepare to fall in love. We seemed to have forgotten what real NFL defensive coaches look like!! We went from barely ever blitzing under Juan, to now everyone is coming!!!! JJ would be proud. I like Billy cause he transcends his favorite scheme..he is versatile. he is basically installing like 4 different defenses. The best Offense are those that can morph into completely different offenses from week to week….seems like our defensive coordinator is trying to bring that to the defense side of the ball…

        the best assistant for me, is the ILB coach. To have a former HC,OC,DC just coaching two guys, Meco and Kendricks….doesn’t get much better then that!!
        This will be a very fun team for defensive all 22

  • GEagle

    can’t wait to smack this team around

    • cliff henny

      SD o-line sounds horrible! man, i miss living in philly during fall…if eagles go 9-1 or something stupid like that, i might have to move back.

      • GEagle

        Hahahahah if they go 9-1 I’ll pick you up at the airport!….we are going to punish rivers and that line….and our defense will show up!!! Im so excited I feel like getting on a plane, flying all the way to Cali, so I can wake up and watch the game at 10am instead of 1pm lol

        Im not too familiar with SD but I do know the line, the erratic qb and that soft RB…

        • cliff henny

          lived out in LA from 25-35yrs old. if you are a sports fan, there is nothing better than living on west coast. saturdays, watching psu at 9am in outside bars girls in bikinis getting day drunk and making questionable decisions, than all over again sunday. phillies games are on during happy hours. mnf is over at 9pm…sept – jan is a blur

          • GEagle

            That has to be incredible…opposite end of the spectrum, I lived in Rome, where a 1pm game doesn’t start til 7pm….not cool!!

    • OregonDucker

      “can’t wait to smack this team around” And that’s exactly what the Eagles will do GEagle. I’ll be surprised if Rivers is still in the game in the 4th quarter.

  • ClydeSide

    The Oregon Ducks are putting on a clinic today–put up 58 points in 3 quarters already against Tennessee. They may not be Alabama, but that’s still the SEC. If you want to see what’s in store for Eagles fans, check it out.

    • Jack Waggoner

      Yep, I’ve been watching.

      • ClydeSide

        When the QB makes the right decision, the defense is always wrong.

  • Gruvi

    Geagle back, and over-posting as usual. He doesn’t matter;what does is the Eagles defense making it a goal to not allow SD to get to double digits. If they can keep control of the chargers attempts, mixed with some scoring of their own, they might be the defebse we used to be enamored with. Defense needs to win this game.

  • anon

    Chris McCoy cut? Oh well.