2016 Scholarship Winners
Johnson Wins Big at National Conference
SHFM National Conference 2016 proved to be an amazing combination of education and togetherness. From speakers to attendees, this year’s conference had some real success stories.
Among those who came out on top, Chef James Johnson, walked away with a $5,000 scholarship. The forty-year-old Floridian, currently attending the Art Institute of Phoenix, is pursing his degree in Culinary Management. Johnson, after serving twenty years in the United States Air Force, traveling from Kuwait to Qatar, has now focused his energy on a new mission; discovering his culinary expertise.
From the early age of eleven, Johnson’s interest in cooking began to flourish. His parents began his culinary education with simple breakfast dishes and eventually he took flight with his very own dinner creations. The joy of bringing people together to appreciate his creations is a feeling he has continued to chase throughout his career. At the end of the day, Johnson’s real dream is to own a small restaurant, where people can simply enjoy their food, some live music and a nice conversation.
While Johnson may have grabbed top prize, runner-up Rob Petty, didn’t walk away empty-handed. Nabbing second place, Petty received a generous $3,000 scholarship of his own.
Petty’s twelve years of experience began out of necessity with the passing of his father. At age 17 Petty found his way into a professional kitchen where he began making simple desserts and salads while honing his skills. From there, the rest was history.
Petty’s passion for serving his community has lead to managing non-profit organization, Stand Together and Recover. Petty has realized that in order to continue to serve his community and those in it, a solid foundation for his career must be built. Dedication to his craft and the need to continually better his skillset will always stand as the cornerstone to his success.
Two respected and talented chefs competed head to head in preparing tasty tacos and walked away with some amazing prizes. Talented people coming together to make delicious tacos, now that’s some true Synergy.