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Mississippi culinary students hunger for success

4775f-chefs4In today’s Clarion-Ledger, you’ll find a story about the culinary arts. David Leathers, owner of Food Stylin’, is featured on our Southern Style page. He tours the country conducting food carving seminars and demonstrations.

While David was inspired to become a chef by his father, who owned a Fulton restaurant, it seems the Food Network and other cooking shows may also be inspiring a new generation to become chefs, cooks and culinary experts, like Biloxi native Kris Geiselman.The Gulfport High School graduate is a student enrolled in the Mississippi University for Women Culinary Arts Institute.

“Growing up, I was always in the kitchen with my mother,” he said. “She encouraged me because it was something we could do together.”

The wonderful food of New Orleans also influenced Geiselman, who visited the city frequently with his family, tasting all it had to offer. He plans to return to the Gulf Coast after graduation and open his own restaurant. A recent internship at the Country Club of Birmingham coupled with his MUW studies are helping prepare him for the challenge, and he said the Food Network has also been an influence.

“(It’s) evolved over the years into an artistic and scientific portal for the younger generation to see that there is more to the culinary arts than just cooking,” he said. “I believe that with shows like “Good Eats” and “Ace of Cake,” the sugar sculpture (and cake) competitions, have really shown another side to food. They show the hard work and determination necessary to be successful.”

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