McInnis was the latest in a line of talented graduates of the school's culinary program to return to the school to mentor current students and host a dinner. The dinners allow students currently enrolled in the culinary programs to experience first-hand what it's like to work on the line with one of the city's best toques.
McInnis, a 1998 graduate of Johnson & Wales' Charleston Campus, spent two days with the students, teaching them cooking techniques and sharing his experiences on Top Chef. The four-course dinner is prepared, for the most part, by the students, who volunteer their time in exchange for the opportunity to work with a top chef.
The dinners, hosted throughout the school year, help to raise scholarship fund for deserving students. Philip Velez was presented with a $2,000 award at the dinner.
Jeff McInnis shows JWU students how to plate a salad to his specification.
This take on a classic wedge featured crisp iceberg lettuce, fresh tomatoes, a pimento and lardo crouton, and a slice of crisp ham, cured from a 320-pound wild boar.
A pan-seared sea scallop was topped with smoked creme fraiche. Calabaza soup was poured tableside around the scallop.
Family-style dining comes to JWU. Each table was greeted with a host of traditional southern treats including Yardbird fried chicken, stone ground grits, sauteed Brussels sprouts, and a cheddar waffle topped with green tomato chow chow.
A carrot cake topped with savory cream cheese ice cream rounded out the meal.
Philip Velez was presented with a $2,000 scholarship that will help him continue his pursuit of a career in the culinary arts.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
McInnis in the kitchen with his student chefs.