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Non-Traditional Student Finds Success as a Chef

Susan Notes: Before Standardistos took control,high schoolers could find their bliss.

Ohanian Comment:

This article is named Joy of the Day for memories of things past--for alternative high school programs that did not force college prep courses on students with different career plans.

This article was in the Real Estate Section of the New York Times. It features Julian Alonzo, executive chef at Brasserie 8 1/2, the futurist/fantasy restaurant at 9 West 57th Street. Mr. Alonso is also an an investor and creative consultant in a new restaurant/lounge/nightclub called BLVD., opening this week at the Bowery and Spring Street. I'm not reprinting the whole article--just the part about Mr. Alonso's high school education. Mr. Alsonso told the reporter, "I want to be famous for my food." By all accounts, at age 33, he's well on his way. It is highly unlikely this could happen in New York City today. The Regents' demand that every high schooler be enrolled in a college prep program would make it impossible.

Chef and Family Select Ingredients for the Home

He's been cooking since he was 15, when the City-as-School High School, an alternative city school using internship programs as the primary means of education, placed him in the kitchen of Montrachet. There, he watched another soft-spoken and focused young chef, David Bouley, pull uptown Manhattan down into TriBeCa, a neighborhood then as foreign as the intense flavors he was tempting them with.

Mr. Alonzo has since cooked at La Caravelle and Maxim's, at the Michelin-decorated Guy Savoy in Paris, at Club Meds from Martinique to Ixtapa, at the Sea Grill and Cafe Centro. In the summer of 2000, he opened Brasserie 8 1/2 for Restaurant Associates, the vast food service empire that also owns Sea Grill and Cafe Centro.

— Penelope Green
Chef and Family Select Ingredients for the Home
New York Times


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