STUDENT, CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, CLASS OF 2012 RESTAURANT MANAGER, JALEO, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Exceptional people often look for opportunities to give back over the course of their careers, whether it's looking for ways to open doors for others, or share their own success they've experienced. Michael Echeveste, recipient of a 2010 scholarship awarded by the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (CRAEF) and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has done this and more in the short time since his graduation.
Echeveste studied political science and religion at Humboldt State University. But after earning the scholarship, he took what he called a “passion for food” to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He is now working as a manager at Washington, D.C., hotspot Jaleo, under the tutelage of formidable head chef José Andrés. He also is in training to become a master sommelier.
“Working with people who are passionate and serious about their job is exciting and meaningful,” said Echeveste of working at Jaleo, which is much-lauded as one of the region's best tapas restaurants, receiving national media attention. In addition to managing the restaurant operations, Echeveste had to familiarize himself with an extensive Spanish wine list, further his interest in pursuing further wine and beverage program education.
While studying at the CIA, Echeveste made his way back to California to speak to ProStart high school students about what they could achieve in the industry, and how CRAEF gave him the support he needed to pursue his dream.
“When I was taking culinary classes in high school I didn't know about organizations out there like CRAEF that wanted to help students go after their goals,” he said. “I feel obligated to pass on this information after receiving so much assistance for my own education.”
Echeveste's desire to learn, mentor and excel aligns with the qualities of CRAEF scholarship recipients.
“Hopefully I can inspire young students to find a career they can truly enjoy,” he said.
Find quick answers to your questions about the CRA and navigating calrest.org.