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.”

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • 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!

    • 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

    • Dubiy

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

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Uncle Carm

    Couldn’t agree more. I bet the article is already written with the aforementioned _____ .

  • GEagle

    man…do I also need to eat some Crow….did anyone see Gus Bradley MIC’ed up on Inside the NFL for his first game? I was really embarrassed for him, or ATleast for how they portrayed him…he looked clueless. Thank you Mr. Lurie!!!!! I can’t even fathom life without the leader of “Big people who beat up little people that makes DC’s miserable”

  • GEagle

    Lol still laughing at your comment over the Eagles flying over your house..
    Ducker you have been interacting Long enough now to understand how traumatized we are as a fanbase..In past years, I would be absolutely Freightened at what would have been a “trap” game Iike this. I would normally always pick against us in a game like this these past few years..Big Win on Monday, Andy Reid around the corner…but oddly Hip has alleviate those concerns. I believe he has our boys focused, anxious to light this league on fire one week at a time. Why would they overlook the chargers where every game is an opportunity to puff their chest out and make a statement about their Leader? Chip has made us too blood thirsty to overlook an opportunity to step on someone’s throat…We are NOT LOSING THIS GAME!!

    The Linc will once again become a place where teams rarely get out with a WIN, When we lose, it will be to a better team not because we were soft, lazy or dumb!!! It’s a new day boys…OUR TIME!!! You enjoy that defense? There will be bumps and bruises, but we will Gel more every week, we will grow into this scheme more every week…and if our starters can stay healthy we will see this defense grow drastically from one month to the next…and we already know what time it is on offense. We haven’t even seen the 3TE packages yet? Casey and Damaris are still weapons we haven’t even shown yet…Ertz hasn’t even scratched the surface into the weapon he will be..I can’t even imagine what this thing would look like with Mac attack and Rejus Benn!
    Ay Ducker, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about(post the link for others when you have time)… What’s going to happen when we lineup in “Emmory and Ivory” and Chip calls “FB swing/crack”??? DANGER! DANGER DANGER:
    JP(boss Hog), Ertz with Desean behind them lined up in Trips to the left…Lane,Cooper and Avant in trips to the right….Now there is no way a defense can afford to not Honor Jason Peters split it wide to the left with Desean friggin Jackson behind him lol…yet we throw the swing pass to shady going to the opposite side, where he has the fast Lane in front of him, With Riley and Avant also blocking for him…..HOW DO YOU STOP THAT? easy, you just DON’T!!!!!!!!

  • cliff henny

    ouch, could do the 1pm, the 4s starting at 10 would be an issue, night games would require day offs…flipping b/t bama and oregon…please tell me you wouldnt trade up for marioti

  • cliff henny

    marioti was throwing frozen ropes too. some question whether he has arm strength and can make all the throws. basically, what i saw was the 3 or 4 throws vick missed (not nitpicking vick, but he did miss some easy throws) marioti put on a platter for WR, usually ending in 6.

  • GEagle

    Get your credibility back…then we can talk :)

  • GEagle

    Lol I don’t give a crap about Qbs, damn sure don’t wanna trade up for any lol….I want OLBs, Safeties, NTs, Young back up corners to learn from a warrior like CDub….that’s what I want….

  • cliff henny

    really? 1st pick has to be kelly’s perfect qb. have a ton of money to pick up some free agents, and also better luck getting quality players in 3rd rd on back in other positions. foles cant beat out vick, kelly surely sees marioti or a boyd type as future.

  • James Skip Carl

    I think geagle is in football heaven and I’m with you

  • ClydeSide

    Marioti is the QB Kelly always wanted: big, fast, smart, accurate. Now let’s see if we can get him in a year or two. in the draft. He is the guy.

  • GEagle

    I’m not reay to assume that because I have no clue what Chip thinks about the two young QBs that we have. I really don’t believe that Kelly is a guy that feels he can’t play without a mobile QB….Vick will get hurt at some point, and then we will get a glimpse of Foles or Barkley, and we will find out..
    I do acknowledge that Chip may still want a QB…but our team becomes exponentially better if we can use first round picks on other positions…people complain about the perceived lack of star power..well we ain’t getting stars until we draft and develope them, and your odds of finding one increase if you take a guy in the 1st round as opposed to the 3rd….I don’t want a QB because not needing to draft one high makes us exponentially better…but that’s just the wishful thinking in me. I do acknowledge that it’s a very real possibility.
    I don’t think we will pick high enough to have a shot at trading up for Teddy…and I think cHip is madly in love with Marriotta. Monday Angelo Cataldi asked if he ever had a QB with all the physical talent and Gifts that Vick had…Chips response ” Well the kid at Oregon is pretty good”

    I have to believe that I Chip wants to draft a QB, it would be Marriotta. I don’t watch college QBs closely as I would defensive positions, so I’m probably the wrong guy to have this convo with…It makes it even harder for me to get into the QB, when I think our coach is already so enamored with one of them… Long as we don’t draft that Jack Ass Johnny Football(UGH. I can’t believe I just called him that), then I’m good with whatever they do….FO, has earned my trust. …while most people spend this year gushing over the college QBs, I will be watching Notre Dame and Stanford’s Dlinemen and OLBs…even some Van Noy…….I don’t like to watch Teddy, because his defense isn’t riddled with NFL prospects. I don’t mind watching Oregon because of my man Crush for Lyeria and Ifo Olomu..

  • GEagle

    Yeah Im pretty jacked up out of my mind these days…Good Times! Scratching and surviving…Good Times!!!

  • Token

    Yea you have loads of it. QB doesnt matter, interesting thought.