Maria Kaupas Center Valentine's Bake-Off

The Trotter Project collaborated with Maria Kaupas Center to host a first-of-its-kind, Valentine's Bake Off. Students collaborated with TTP mentors over multiple weeks to plan and create Valentines-themed pastries. Mentors included the likes of current TTP scholars, Esme Lorenzo and Bran'de Gilbert, as well as Waldorf Astoria Executive Pastry Chef, Lizzy Sanchez. On the final day, four teams of students participated in a competitive bake-off. Team 'Rocky Mountain Dynamic Duo', with the assistance of Esme, had all the right ingredients to create the winning item, chocolate ganache covered cake pops. Stay tuned for future cooking and baking events in the Maria Kaupas Center kitchen, including our weeks long culinary summer camp. 

Jefferson Rodriguez-Martinez at The Dining Room, Kendall College

The Trotter Project's 2017 Homaro Cantu Scholarship recipient, Jefferson Rodriguez-Martinez has been working on the pastry side of the kitchen at Kendall College's student-run restaurant, The Dining Room. Jefferson even has a dessert of his own creation featured on the menu: a tres leches de coco cake with horchata ice cream, dulce de leche, coconut sabayon, and dehydrated pineapple. The dessert is as delicious as it is visually stunning. Jefferson's family, The Trotter Project's Executive Director, Derrek Hull, and Pillars of Excellence Program Manager, LaKiesha P. Dunn were all in attendance for the celebration of the opening night of his menu debut.  

Make a reservation at Kendall College's The Dining Room, located on Chicago's Goose Island, to support our scholar and taste the next generation of culinary and hospitality excellence.

3 Squares Diner Industry Night Benefiting The Trotter Project

On Tuesday, February 12th The Trotter Project teamed up with 3 Squares Diner as the benefiting foundation for their monthly Industry Night. A warm and wonderful group of supporters braved the snowy Chicago night to support The Trotter Project’s mission to bring excellence to the next generation of culinary and hospitality leaders. 

TTP sponsor Treaty Oak Distillery provided gin and whiskey that were utilized in making cocktails mixed by TTP staff and in turn make the evening a special one. 

However, the highlight of the night was Esme Lorenzo, a second year TTP Scholar currently attending Chicago’s Washburne Culinary Institute. She worked in the kitchen alongside Chef Ian Voakes, also of Logan Square’s acclaimed Jam, to create, prepare, and serve a delicious complimentary empanada amuse-bouche. She did a truly incredible job. Esme has a bright future in the culinary industry. We are so excited to watch her career progress and taste more of her work in the future. 

Thank you so much to 3 Squares Diner, Treaty Oak Distillery, and the supporters who turned out to support The Trotter Project cause!

  January Spotlight Scholar: Jefferson Rodriguez-Martinez

School: Kendall College  

Favorite thing to eat: Spaghetti and meatballs

Favorite thing to cook: Chilaquiles 

How has Culinary or Hospitality affected your life?

Culinary Arts is an incredible field that constantly teaches me to have confidence. Starting my path in this field I was not confident enough and it sure leads me to make mistakes. I like to execute every project with the commitment to satisfy the consumer with my dish. I am not able to follow my plan if I do not trust in myself and stop overthinking things. This field's everything to me it's like a rollercoaster of emotions that teaches me valuable lessons.

What does receiving the Homaro Cantu/Charlie Trotter Scholarship mean to you?

Life has its ups and downs but its all about dreaming hard and working harder. The Homaro Cantu scholarship is a constant reminder that everything is possible if you set yourself a goal in life. No matter the countless times you might cry over a fail, eventually, there is a reward at the end of every battle making each sacrifice worth the fight.    

How can The Trotter Project help you achieve your goals now and in the future?

The Trotter Project is a wonderful organization that brings each scholar closer to incredible experiences. In my experience, The Trotter Project could lead me to grow more in my career through the exposure to different jobs and organizations that support my career. Additionally, promoting my love for creating tasty desserts.  

butternut squash soufflé with roasted pear, butternut squash jam, saffron crème anglaise, and brown butter madeleines.

butternut squash soufflé with roasted pear, butternut squash jam, saffron crème anglaise, and brown butter madeleines.