Query Letter: IFT

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Food Memoir: Apple Juice

Keanu Taylor in the Hospital for Cancer

Imagine a Newark hospital at nine in the morning. It is a small, bland room, in New Brunswick Children’s Hospital. Ivy dangling aside the bed, attached to my cancerous body. TV left on from the night before. In the corner, last night’s dinner which I failed to indulge. I struggled to remember who and where I was.

“Morning son,” my father swayed my shoulders, disrupting my sleep. “Son, you have get up.”

I could sense that he knew I was already awake, yet I proceeded to ignore it. After 6 months of already being in the hospital, waking up earlier than ten in the morning equaled either my blood needed to be taken or an unidentifiable substance was going to be injected into my veins. This would require a least six workers to make sure I didn’t resist or run out the room.

“Keanu, come on!” I reached my father’s limit of patience. As I struggled to free myself from the rheum which glued my eyelids shut, I rolled over facing my father and the door. Accompanied by my father were six ladies dressed in blue, matching scrubs, anxiously anticipating my reaction to their presence. My eight-year-old body was defeated by the tiredness and weakening of my bones.

“He’s awake.” I heard one lady in blue whisper out the door projecting her voice across the hallway. After my rise was publicly announced, a tawny man dressed in formal business attire disguised by a long white lab coat strolls in with a pitcher of a yellow substance on a overbed table. Suddenly, the tiredness was overthrown and the weakening of my bones tensed up in preparation for a fight or flight reaction. I sprung up and tightly guarded myself behind my father.

“It’s just apple juice son.” father assured me.

“They’re going to inject me with apple juice?” I inferred. The ladies dressed in blue battled against laughter while the tawny man replicated the George Bush grin. I was appalled at the fact that my concern was not taken seriously.

“Now, Now, Keynew?” the tawny man butchered my name, “is that how you say it?”

“It’s Ke-an-u.” Father corrected.

“Keanu. All you have to do is drink it,” I confirmed tawny man’s statement with the others within the room using the pyramid of evidence – my father being the highest ranking of credibility. “All of it.” he added.

Apple juice was my favorite fruit juice. Orange juice often appeared too tart, grape juice too artificial, and pineapple juice too sweet. Apple juice, however, combined all of other fruit juice abundance in harmony. Each gulp is like biting into an apple without the pain or worry of losing a tooth. Requiring me to drink apple juice as if it would help cure my sickness, leukemia, was iffy.

“Something must be in the juice” I thought. The lack of distortion in color did not support that belief.

I adjusted myself comfortably on the bed, in preparation to examine the apple juice. Father left my side as one of the ladies in blue inserted the table over the bed. Accompanied by the apple juice pitcher was a 32 ounce clear plastic cup as well as large flexible straws. The pitcher contained exactly one gallon of apple juice. Before I make my first move, the lady in blue began to precisely pour the substance into the cup. There was roughly a centimeter between the juice and the rim of the cup. The inserted straw adjusted the distance to less than half a centimeter. I began to salivate by the sweet smell resembling a candy shop filled with one flavor. Leaving the cup on the table, I leaned towards the cup and inserted the bent straw in my mouth. The watery consistency easily allowed me to chug the first 32 ounces in the matter of seconds. I reexamined the room and was presented with smiles of surprise from every member.

“One down, three to go.” the lady in blue motivated me to proceed as she robotically refilled the cup to the exact spot as before.

Uncertain of whether I was full, I began to indulge with no hesitation. Using all of my ATP, my pace began to slow down eventually forcing myself stop halfway. The sweet taste turn sour and the adored smell transformed into the smell of urine.

“I can’t finish it.” I plead as I created distance between the juice and myself.

“No worries,” the lady assured me, “You have all the time in the world.”

“Do you all have to stay in here?”

“Well someone’s gonna make sure you finish it.”

“True, but not all of you.”

Gradually, everyone except the lady, tawny man, and my father trinkled out of the room. Feeling less anxious, I leaned in to finish the second half of the cup.

“Good job. You’re halfway there.”

“Can I just finish it tomorrow?”

“Unfortunately, No.”

“I thought I had all the time in the world.”

The lady traveled across her mind, shuffling for the right response to find found nothing.

“Keanu,” My father raised his voice, “finish the juice now!”

The third pour was less consistent compared to the first two pours, barely leaving any space between the juice and the rim. I mind dragged my body towards the substance while my stomach tumbled for an escape. As I struggled to vacuum up the liquid I can feel every drop travel through my organs. My eyes began to water from the pain, yet I proceeded to let liquid back in. The cup was finally empty, yet I had 32 ounces left. I became unresponsive and numb to the pain. My body refused stay leaned up, drifting itself on its side in resting position. The lady brought the final filled cup towards me and injected the straw into my lips. Effortless the liquid crawled its way into my stomach. I watch the liquid slowly vanish before tiredness, overpowered my body. Cutting the show short, I passed out.


Imagine a surgical room at eight in the night. It is a small, white room, with blue curtains surrounding the room. The Ivy dangling aside the bed, attached to my cancerous body. Patients sobbing on the other side of the curtains. In the corner, a men dressed fairly casual, who resembled an older version of me.

“Hey, do you remember who I am?” the man inquired.

I traveled across my mind, shuffling for a single memory and found nothing except a vague memory of an disgusting sour substance similar to urine.


The man’s eyes began to water, carelessly releasing all tears. “I’m your father, son. I’m your father.”

Feature Article: Return to an Idyllic Pastoral Food System?

Why relying on only locally grown food would not work.

Keanu Taylor – Gilded Tomato Farm

An idyllic pastoral food system refers to relying on only locally grown food, without any importation of any produce. It is trendy to believe that “if everyone just ate locally” the world would be a better place. This belief led to the misinformation regarding GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and any form of Food Science. This article will explain what food science actually is and the importance of food science and GMOs when it comes to feeding billions of people.

Food Science is simply the study of food. What a Food Scientist (or Food Technologist) does is apply what they know about food to make food safe, distributable, and capable of getting in the bodies of billions of people across the world. GMOs are foods that have been genetically altered, not found in nature. A plant is genetically modified to reduce insect contamination, produce a higher yield, and create heat, cold, or drought tolerant crops. For over millions of years, humans have applied their knowledge of food in order to process and preserve foods to survive. For example papaya, which would have been extinct today, utilized GMOs to prevent a virus (PRSV) which restricted the crop from growing.

During the 1940s – 1950s, before the mission to help feed the world (otherwise known as the Green Revolution), countries like Mexico and parts of the United States were struggling for food supply. Norman Borlaug, and agronomist, developed a disease resistance high-yield varieties of wheat which turned Mexico from a starving country to being of the highest exporter of wheat in the world. With the new technology of the Green Revolution, in less than ten years, food availability drastically increased across the world.

Currently, with food technology, obtaining food in many countries is ridiculously easy. Our biggest problem regarding food, today, is overeating and deciding whether we are in the mood for a certain cuisine over another. We do not fear going a day without having obtainable food. If we crave an apple, we can have an apple within minutes. The local food movement would require a large amount of labor from every individual to obtain food, practically making everyone farmers. Our biggest problem would not be overeating and conflicting food preferences. Instead, our biggest problem would be under-eating and providing enough labor so food can be supplied to for days to come.

If the world today ran solely on the idyllic pastoral food system, large and minor issues would never be solved. Food items would only be seasonal while the demand for produce out of season will remain the same. Countries will wither in desertification. Additionally, with a growing population that’s expected to reach nine billion by 2050, billions of people may be deprived of food. Locally grown food has it’s benefits and is an important part of the food system. However when considering the world to feed, relying solely on locally grown food would only set us backward.

*Too read the IFT Review, click here or go to: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2010.00127.x/ful

Briney, A. (2015, April 30). All You Wanted to Know About the Green Revolution.
Retrieved January 28, 2018, from http://geography.about.com/od/globalproblemsandissues/a/greenrevolution.htm
Edinger , Robert.
Floros, J. D., Newsome, R., Fisher, W., et al. (2010), Feeding the World Today and
Tomorrow: The Importance of Food Science and Technology. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 9: 572–599. doi:10.1111/j.1541-4337.2010.00127.x
Manshardt, R. (2013). GMO Case Study [PDF]. Cornell: Alliance for science.
Sanjaya Rajaram. (2011) Norman Borlaug: The Man I Worked With and Knew. Annual
Review of Phytopathology 49:1, pages 17-30.

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The Big Plantain Debate: How To Pronounce Plantain?

Okay I’ll admit, I’m the last person who should be ridiculing others for their pronunciation. Honestly, I’ll probably have at least 5 grammatical errors by the end of this article. Words like “Asks” and “Specific” are still one of the hardest words for me to properly say. As soon as is attempt to say something like “Hey, can I ‘Axe’ you something ‘pacific’…”, twelve people would simultaneously throw puns at me in attempt to permanently correct my pronunciation. While they had good intentions, the outcome merely made me defensive. This led to me going on rants about how correcting me mid-sentence displayed a lack of actual listening skills on their part (the whole ‘heard what I said but not actually listening to it’s message’ mantra). Nevertheless, I eventually swallowed my pride and now I constantly focus on the pronunciation of those two words to the point I have placed it on my New Years Resolution. Now I find myself in defense for something I refuse to conform to:

How to Pronounce Plantain?

That Should be enough evidence by itself but, due to Alternative facts, I’ll provide a more clear explanation as to why is pronounce Plan-TIN and not Plan-TAYNE (Credible sources included).

According to Britannica.com, plantain originated from Southeast Asia and is grown in tropical climates such as India, Africa, Egypt, tropical America and Caribbean islands. From fried to boiled, plantain is consumed as well as utilized in many ways which the US has adapted. That Being said, how do these origins pronounce plantain?

If Dictionary.com is not a credible enough, then Merriam-Webster must be.

Lastly, if the word “Mountain” is pronounced Moun-TIN and Fountain is pronounced “Foun-TIN” why would Plantain be pronounced “Plan-TAYN”.

Regardless of how it is said, at the end of the day, we should all focus on the message of our words rather than constantly trying to correct one another and prove each other wrong. Yes, Pronunciation is vital. However with the major issues going on in the world today, whether someone pronounces a word wrong is very minuscule. One should be corrected when using improper grammar and pronunciation. But if the person is aware stubbornly ignores your advice, then he/she does not deserved to be tortured over something that has no control/power over your life. Let’s all as one focus our attention on bigger problems rather than attacking the ones with problems that are only hurting themselves.

Return to an Idyllic Pastoral Food System?

*This article was written for a class assignment in Food Science*

According to the IFT Review, Feeding the World Today and Tomorrow, returning back to the traditional way of food supplying is practically impossible.

Feeding the World Today and Tomorrow was a scientific review conducted by the IFT. The IFT stands for institute of food Technologists. This organization’s mission is to expand Food Science & Technology to promote healthier lives. The purpose of the Review is to inform the misinformed as well as public educators about what food science actually is and the importance of food science when it comes to feeding 7 billion people.

One major point the article focused on was how an “idyllic pastoral food system” would not work in the current modern time. Idyllic pastoral food system refers to providing only locally grown food, without any importation of any produce.

Why would it be neither practical nor possible to return to an idyllic pastoral food system?

  1. The ease of obtaining food.

    Currently, with food technology, our biggest problem is overeating and deciding whether we are in the mood for a certain cuisine over another. We do not fear going a day without having obtainable food. If we crave an apple, we’ll have an apple within minutes. The local food movement would require a large amount of labor from every individual in order to obtain food, practically making everyone farmers. Our biggest problem would not be overeating and conflicting food preferences. Instead, our biggest problem would be under-eating and hoping enough labor was done days prior in order to supply food for the present and future.

  2. Only Seasonal foods.

    Certain foods will be out of season or cannot be grown in certain regions. The demand for these produce will still be there and local cannot provide this demand.

  3. Desertification.

    Desertification is when fertile land turns into a dessert. Places that experience desertification will require food to be transported in order for people to survive in those areas. An example of this is Kenya.

  4. Growing population.

    “With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, it is necessary to find a means to sustainably produce about 50% more food than is currently produced.” – IFT Review

Locally grown food has it’s benefits and is an important part of the food system. However, according to the IFT, when considering the world to feed, relying solely on locally grown food would only set us backward.

*Too read the IFT Review, click here or go to: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2010.00127.x/full

*Have ideas or thoughts? Please comment :).

2017 Master Plan

2016 was an interesting year. Not Just for me but for the world and the United States as a whole. Unfortunately, as always I did not complete all of which I set out to complete on my last (2016) new years resolutions. However, reflecting on the previous year and comparing who I am now to who I was in the beginning of the year, I can definitely say I have improved in almost all aspects of my life and opened the biggest passageway of success for 2017. At the end of every year I like to reflect on the previous year on what went right and what went wrong. After doing so, I come up with a sentence of two describing the main lesson I have learned the previous year. This year, however, will be the first year I actually put what I normally do in my head in writing form. The Following are what went wrong and what went wrong in 2016.

What went Right?

  • Get a paid spring culinary internship – It was a hassle, as well as a last minute decision (for unspoken reasons :P), however, I still managed to seal an internship at Sun Valley Resort at Gretchen’s Restaurant located in Sun Valley, ID. Although it was great learning experience (both life and career), I wish I had done more research as to where to do my internship instead of the careless search which I did. Sun Valley Resort offered great benefits as well as experience which I needed in order to advance further in my culinary career. I managed to receive an A+ after completing the internship and also completed my Associates Degree Requirement for Culinary Arts. Completed: March 8th – May 19th
  • Summer Job – After enjoying my experience as well as pay at Sun Valley Resort I decided to stay there for the summer where I earned the position as a line cook. Completed: May 20th – August 13th
  • Stage a Restaurant – Upon searching for culinary internships, desperate for ways to improve my resume. I staged at Gracie’s as well as Local 121, both of which was a great but dreadful learning experience. Completed: Feburary 20th , Early February
  • Work on pronunciation/grammar – although I do struggle to say words such as “ask” (I tend to say ‘AXE’, like the tool or body spray) and ‘specific (I tend to say ‘Pacific’, yes like the ocean), I have learned to recognize when I pronounce a word incorrectly and that it’s okay to pause in order to pronounce words the ‘right’ way. I also learned to be more aware of whether or not I am grammatically correct. While I do believe there is a time and place to correct another on their pronunciation/grammer, I learned understand the importance of being aware of word choices and the way I say/use them. Completed: 2016

All of what went right in 2016 pertained towards my career goals in life. Some of which I felt obligated to do so, not because I wanted to, but because it was requirement.

What went Wrong?

  • Write biweekly on my website – Writing biweekly on my website requires there to be at least 24 post by the end of the year. I failed to manage to even get one. This is due to my increased focus to finish writing my book. Which brings me to the next bullet…
  • Write 30,000 words for book – At the time I was working on a book which I had over 30,000 words completed leaving at least 30,000 more words for the book to be considered a novel. By July I decided that the book was going nowhere and that I would write a different book. Since then, I have only manage to write a little over 11,000 words on my new book.
  • Paid writing job – due to my lack of online writing as well as writing in general, my experience and opportunity to get paid for my writing decrease significantly since 2015.
  • 4 Community college classes – In hopes of graduating in 3 total academic years instead of 4, I sought to take CC classes which were cheaper than JWU summer classes. The problem was that the transferable classes I had already taken at JWU, leaving no room for any CC classes.
  • Get and maintain a six pack – Well, I had it…then I lost it.
  • Save $6,480 by September – Still working on it as we speak. Ya’ Boy gotz to pay fo’ college.
  • Be more involved in Res Life – I started the year strong, but was interrupted by internship. This is an expectation I set high for myself which I feel as though I’ll never live up to.
  • Be 140# by end of summer break + 165# by the end of the year with 7% body fat – my body fat is relatively low (actually undetectable in 2015). However, being 125 (at the time), gaining weight has always been a struggle for me.

2016’s Main Lesson

Learn to like myself before I attempt to like anyone else. If I don’t like me for who I am, who will?

After Reflecting on the Previous Year I have come up with a New, New Years Resolution with a New approach. I call it:

2017 Master Plan

Step 1)  Have the master plan accessible everywhere I go.

Evernote is a free app which allows me to do so. Also Printing a physical copy would also help. However I plan on saving Trees this year so I plan on limiting the amount of unnecessary printing I do.

Step 2) Look at last years uncompleted resolutions and decided which ones to transfer over to the new year and which ones stay in the past.

Step 3) Actually come up with the plan/list of goals to accomplish.

Create Goals that are measurable as well as able to be completed within a year. Avoid being vague such as gain/lose weight. How will that goal be measured? Does gain/losing 1 pound mean you accomplished the goal? And what if you you gain/loss the desired weight, then immediately go back to your normal weight? Does that still count as accomplishing your goal? Here’s an example of my 2017 Master Plan.

Step 4) Break each goal into parts.

How the goal will be accomplished? how long will it take? as well as how will it be measured for accomplishment?

For example: Goal – Save the Trees

Duration: All Year process

Measured: Amount of Paper thrown away at the end of year.

Average Paper Weight Thrown out per Person (APWTP) = [(sheets of paper per 4 person household x single paper weight)/# grams per pound]/4

APWTP = [(13,000 x 5)/453.592]/4

APWTP = 35.83

Paper weight < 35.83 = Accomplished

Paper weight > 35.83 = Not Accomplished

Step 5) Get to work.

“Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan.” – Napoleon Hill

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2017 brings many accomplishments along the way.

P.S. – Be sure to follow up with your goals to make sure they are still achievable and desired. Feel free to add more/take off within the year. When taking off be sure to note why it was removed for improvement of the next year.

Eating Healthy in America?

Is it even possible to eat healthy in America? The video above explains the difficulty of buying healthy foods in the average supermarkets. Products like Nutella, Kraft Dinner, and even Campbell’s food labels get debunked. They are not as healthy as others may believe.

What if everyone in America decided to eat only healthy food recommended? Would it even be possible? The video above conducts an experiment with findings that is unbelievable at first then believable with a little extra thought.

Freshmen Labs Complete

Finally Completed all of the required freshmen labs. I started the year with one of the strictest but also best instructors in the Skills of Meat Cutting. And ended the year with one of the most outgoing and entertaining instructors in Introduction to Baking & Pastry. I never though I could learn so much in ten, nine day segments. The amount of knowledge you receive in just nine days brings confidence that there’s plenty of time to create wonders in life.

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The road to success shouldn’t be rushed, but enjoyed every step of the way.

Next term is a term full of Academics. I can’t wait to start labs once again :).

What it takes to become a Culinary Professional

A culinary professional is a person who has superior knowledge in handling foods as well as knows how to make a profit off of that knowledge. In order to gain this knowledge, a person must have reputable experience in the culinary field, be highly committed to gaining this knowledge and good management skills. Many people in the world today think they have what it takes to be a culinary professional. Because they are able to manage a starving, bias, loving party of four (their-self included), feeding hundreds of starving, demanding, unthankful citizens couldn’t possibly be that much harder. Everyone knows a family member who believes that they could open a successful restaurant with almost no problem. All they need is the money to start up. According to H.G. Parsa, an associate professor in Ohio State University stated that though his research that one in four restaurants fail within the first year of business. Within three years, three out of five restaurants fail. Why? Lack of experience, commitment, and management are the three main reasons why most restaurants fail. This is why a culinary professional must have a superior knowledge in handling foods as well as knows how to make a profit off of that knowledge.

One culinary professional that is technically not a chef is Mr. Fuchs. Mr. Fuchs is a culinary instructor who teaches the Skills of Meatcutting at Johnson and Wales University. Unlike many culinary professionals, Mr. Fuchs does not enjoy cooking. However, his superior knowledge in handling foods is just as good as other many chefs, and his ability to make a profit off of that knowledge is far beyond superior. Almost a year before I enrolled in Johnson & Wales University, around April of last year, I heard about Mr. Fuchs. When another upcoming Johnson and Wales student asked a currently enrolled culinary student “what is the hardest lab and who is the hardest teacher”, the culinary student immediately responded “the Skills of Meatcutting and Mr. Fuchs”. I encountered his name once more during Johnson & Wales’s Orientation in July when a student asked an Orientation leader the exact same question. The student was given the same response. In that split second I was terrified, I thought to myself that “I hope I don’t have his class and even worse, I hope I don’t have his class first. Once school officially started and I had received my official schedule, what I thought would be merely impossible turned into a reality. I feared that college for me, luck would never be in my favor. The first day of class, as I waited in line to be inspected, while he scrutinized every inch, every flaw, every wrinkle of each student’s uniform, I began to second guess my entire decision of majoring in culinary arts. During six hours of information intense lecture, as the entire class pinched their skin, balled their knuckles, and gazed at anything in order to keep them dozing off into a coma like sleep, I was almost certain that there was no way I was going make it out of Mr. Fuchs alive (I was afraid I was going to fail). Every day I had to drag myself out of bed (the only place I felt safe), and convince myself that the next day would be better than the yesterdays, only to reveal that it was only getting worse. On the last day, the truth was revealed. Mr. Fuchs Explained to the class why he does what he does – what motivates him to come to work and be happy. He does what he does because he understands how expensive this education is and wants to give us the best education for every penny we invested. Mr. Fuchs wanted us to realize that the culinary world is a tough field and no matter how tough the class is, only the tough could push through the suffering, to reach glory. Some teachers in the United States provide students with a very limited education. Mr. Fuchs provides and education that will last a lifetime. Having Mr. Fuchs as my very first teacher was the best thing that could have happened to me since I began college.

Every great culinary professional have certain skills and traits that make them good at what they do. Creativity, having an open-mind and confidence are just a few of the necessary skills and traits of a culinary professional. Creativity helps create a better presentation when plating food. Creative food plating helps create a great dining experience. All culinary professionals have to be willing to try something new at all times. Being open-minded allows one to do so. One of the most important skills & traits that all professionals should have (even not in the culinary industry) is confidence. If a professional does not believe in their-self, it will be hard to convince anyone else to believe in him/her. Having confidence in oneself lets others know they can trust him/her to complete a task with anyone second guessing his/her abilities. If a culinary professional lacks all three of these skills/traits he or she may not make it very far in their career.

As an upcoming culinary professional, there are many strengths and weaknesses I currently have. Like many culinary students my age, one of my biggest strengths is being open-minded. I am willing to try anything that is presented to me and will do what I am told with very limited disbelief. I believe this is why younger individuals have a higher chance in this field than older individuals. Other strengths I have are a strong work ethic and a will to be successful. I try my best to complete all tasks as soon as possible while ensuring it is the best quality. I also set great expectations for myself. Sometimes in which others may think I am over working myself. I have a strong belief that overworking oneself is the moment in which it is physical and/or mentally damaging and borderline impossible to move on in same condition. If one has not reached that point, then he/she has not overworked their-self.

With every strength a person has, there is a weakness. Some of the weaknesses I have are a lack of confidence, simplicity (inability to take chances), and lack of experience. I believe that the cause of my lack of confidence and simplicity is due to my lack of experience in the culinary field. With experience comes confidence. With confidence, comes the ability to take chances. With the lack of experience, comes the lack of confidence in oneself, and second guessing oneself which leads to simplicity. In order to improve my strengths and minimize my weaknesses it is essential that I never miss a day of class unless it physically/mentally impossible for me to make it to class or I may cause others to get ill. It is also very important for me to take more risk rather than playing it safe with everything I do. Taking risks is quality that all leaders have. In order to be a leader one must have the ability to take risk. I will also take time to award myself after I have reached an accomplishment. By doing so, I will relieve stress and take the time to relax and reflect on my accomplishments and failures in order to find a way to improve in the future. Ways instructors can help me attain my goals is by providing opportunities and information outside the lab in order to help me learn more than what could be taught in short nine days of a lab. If I manage to strive towards my goals there’s only a matter of time until my dreams become a reality.

One organization that will help me achieve my goals is the Research Chefs Association (RCA). The RCA is a professional community that focuses on the practice of culinology – blending culinary arts and science of food. This company allows members to connect with peers that share the same expectations/situation and discuss various topics. Once qualified, the RCA offers the opportunity to enroll in the Certified Research Chef and/or the Certified Culinary Scientist Program in order to receive a certificate that can open new doors in which you may not be able to open without them. According to survey conducted by the RCACC, a RCA certified employee enhances product speed to market, increases product quality, increases team functionality, and increases their chances of earning a higher salary. I am already a RCA member and as soon as I am eligible to apply for certificate I most definitely will. In the mean time I will stay updated with all scholarships and upcoming events this organization offers. I already know many people who benefited from this program (Chef Crawley being one of the many few) and I am positive that the RCA can benefit me the same way as I expand.