Long Reach High grad selected as a White House chef

March 02, 2004

Joe Stinchcomb, a 2000 graduate of Long Reach High School, has been selected to be one of about 20 chefs for the White House. He expects to work there at least three years.

Stinchcomb, 22, was a Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Technology student in the magnet program at Long Reach, where he learned restaurant management, culinary arts and "hotel front" skills, said his former teacher, Elaine Heilman.

"He approached everything with an eager desire to learn and to better himself," she said.

Stinchcomb said the Technology Magnet program was helpful to him because "it taught me a lot about food safety, the rules of the kitchen and about how stuff is supposed to be done."

He also picked up a few pointers on the job.

Stinchcomb started, while in high school, as a dishwasher at Ellicott City Brewery. "He always had his eyes and ears open about other jobs," said his mother, Donna Stinchcomb.

While in high school, he landed a job at Outback Steakhouse, where the manager took him under his wing and taught him about cooking and running a restaurant, Joe Stinchcomb said.

He interned at Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, where he did everything from shipping and receiving to creating ice sculptures.

Although Stinchcomb was accepted by Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, he decided to join the Navy. He qualified to attend Mess Specialist School at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where he was "taught how to do things the Navy way," he said.

Graduating at the top of his class, Stinchcomb decided that surface ships did not appeal to him, so he attended Basic Enlisted Submarine School in Groton, Conn. Though the program is rigorous and many students dropped out, he graduated third in his class.

Now Joe Stinchcomb is stationed on the USS Ohio, a submarine off the coast of Washington, where he is Petty Officer Second Class Mess Specialist, his mother said.

On the submarine, he said, he is allowed to make virtually any dish he wants, unlike many chefs on surface ships. And he is able to take more time cooking because he has fewer people to serve.

In November, Joe Stinchcomb was one of three applicants selected from a pool of 400 to be a White House chef.

"I wasn't expecting it," he said.

His family was excited to hear the news.

"I'm happy he's coming back to the East Coast because he's been gone three years now, but I'm also happy because it's a great opportunity for him to cook," his mother said.

"It doesn't get any better than this," Stinchcomb said, adding that now friends sing the presidential march, Hail to the Chief, when he walks by.

- Caitlin O'Grady

Around town

Bull roast: Hammond High School Boosters will hold a bull roast from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane, Clarksville. Shrimp, pit beef and barbecued pork, beer, wine and soda, door prizes, blackjack, roulette, a big-six wheel, silent auction and a disc jockey are planned. Tickets are $45 at the door. Tables for 10 cost $350. 301-498-8339.

Basket bingo: Stevens Forest Elementary School, 604 Stevens Forest Road, Columbia, will sponsor basket bingo March 12 at the Elks Lodge, Nine Mile Circle, Catonsville. Doors are to open at 6 p.m., and bingo will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. 410-884-7568 or 410-884-6053.

College prep: Hammond High School will hold its annual College Visions Workshop for students and parents from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 15. Workshops on every aspect of preparing for college are planned; there will also be workshops on college athletics, students with disabilities and minority students. Arrive by 6:45 p.m.; the first workshop starts at 7 p.m. 4l0-3l3-7615.

Resource center: A resource center for Hispanic Howard County residents is open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Dasher Green Owen Brown School, 6700 Cradlerock Way. Help is available with medical, housing, food, clothing and other needs. 443- 527-1900.

Martial arts: Oakland Mills Community Association will offer Hale Martial Arts Academy classes at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills Village Center on Mondays and Wednesdays. Classes, which incorporate the martial arts systems of karate, tae kwon do and jujitsu, are for all ages. Tuition is $35 a month. 410-730-4610.

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