State honors on menu for Carroll teen

Young chef to receive student award from Md. restaurant group

April 19, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Whenever culinary arts teacher Tim Norwood asks beginning students to list their favorite foods, their typical responses are pizza, French fries and cheeseburgers.

Two years ago, a student seated in the front row of Norwood's classroom at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center answered, "foie gras."

"I knew right then that this kid would work out fine," Norwood said.

Norwood nominated that student, Chad Little, for a state award.

Tonight, the Restaurant Association of Maryland will name Little, 17, a senior at the Westminster school, its Student of the Year. The Westminster resident beat out about 30 nominees for the honor.

"I love cooking in general, and I love learning new things and trying new techniques," Little said. "I really enjoy everything about cooking. It's my life."

Little, who will graduate from Westminster High School in June, has spent two years under Norwood's tutelage and nearly as much time interning at Baldwin's Station in Sykesville, one of the area's signature restaurants.

He mans the grill, cooking meats to diners' specifications. He also likes to prepare seafood and counts shrimp and crab tarts among his specialties.

"He really is learning through doing," said Baldwin's executive chef, Bryan Sullivan. Little snowboards, tinkers with old cars and reads cookbooks and culinary magazines in his spare time.

He has moved from culinary arts class to the school's research program. He maintains an A average, helps operate the center's cafe, works several shifts at Baldwin's and volunteers to cook for community service projects.

Stewart Dearie, owner of Baldwin's Station, praised Little's work ethic and education. The experience has encouraged him to hire several other interns from the technology center.

The young chef credits his teachers at school and at work.

"I would never be part of this without school," Little said of the award that he will receive at the Marriott Waterfront hotel in Baltimore. "School has provided me with job opportunities and helped me with skills."

He hopes to continue his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. The award, sponsored by the Maryland Hospitality Education Foundation, the teaching arm of the restaurant association, makes him eligible for two scholarships, said Marshall Weston, the foundation's executive vice president.

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