Pacific Lutheran University student to compete at national chef competition

By Volcano Staff on October 3, 2014

Pacific Luthern University announced one of its MBA students, Jason Sipe - a line cook at PLU's Anderson University Center - has been invited to the first-ever nationwide ment'or Young Chef Competition. The day before Halloween, Sipe will step into Chef Thomas Keller's acclaimed Bouchon Beverly Hills and compete for $10,000 - or $15,000 and "the stagiaire (internship) of a lifetime" at some of the nation's most well-respected restaurants - at the first-ever nationwide ment'or Young Chef Competition.

Let's read PLU's news release. ...

Only 16 young chefs nationwide were invited to the competition, which is spearheaded by international chefs extraordinaire Jérôme Bocuse, Daniel Boulud and Keller; invited guests are paying $75-$125 to watch the competitors cook.

"This is really an amazing opportunity to be given the chance to compete with chefs at this caliber," Sipe said. "Most people in this industry never get to pick up something at this level."

Sipe will compete against three sous chefs and line cooks from California, Louisiana and Utah. Amanda Schmidt, a recent PLU graduate and prep cook, will go along as his assistant.

Ment'or is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire excellence in young culinary professionals and preserve the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. Its inaugural Young Chef Competition is described as "rigorous";  judges for Sipe's event are chefs William Bradley, Josiah Citrin, Timothy Hollingsworth, Roland Passot and Richard Rosendale.

The Bouchon Beverly Hills competition is the second in the series of four Young Chef Competitions taking place across the country this fall. The first competition will be held at Emeril's in New Orleans on Oct. 19, the third at Johnson & Wales in Miami on Nov. 8 and the fourth at the International Culinary Center in New York City on Nov. 15.

For his application, Sipe submitted his resume, a letter about his experience  and a reference letter. "A short time later, I was told that the winners would be announced on a certain day by phone," Sipe said. "Once that day came around, I received a call from Chef Thomas Keller inviting me to compete!"

Erin McGinnis, director of PLU Dining and Culinary Services, said she's thrilled that Sipe has been selected for this opportunity.

"He is so passionate," she said. "He writes about food; he thinks about food; and when he's off, he's thinking about how to perfect his food."

Sipe graduated from PLU with a Bachelor's degree in Religion in 2012 and is now finishing his MBA. His career as a food writer and restaurant critic began with a column in PLU's student newspaper, The Mooring Mast. He since has been featured on local and national news websites and has competed in and judged PLU's annual culinary competition, The Commons on Fire.

And now he's excited to put PLU on an even wider-ranging culinary map.

"This is the first year of the Young Chef Competitions, and with only 16 competitors invited from across the nation, PLU will certainly stand out," Sipe said.