“As I made my way to the Opera House downtown, it started getting more and more real. The only red carpet I had ever seen was on TV when the biggest stars walked down it at the Golden Globes and Grammys. This was big,” says Nikhil Bendre, who is working towards earning his bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Kendall.
Nikhil was given the chance to represent Kendall College on the James Beard Foundation Awards red carpet. He was selected because of his involvement on campus, hard-working attitude and outgoing personality. Coming from a small suburb of Mumbai, India called Thane, Nikhil had not heard of the awards until he took an American Cuisine class as part of his curriculum. He was in for an evening of learning experiences and surprises.
On the red carpet, Nikhil was able to rub shoulders with some of the culinary industry’s finest. Their unassuming nature was one of the most striking aspects of the experience, he explains. “When I was on the red carpet and trying to get the attention of world-class chefs like Daniel Humm, David Chang and Daniel Bouloud, their humility is what I will take away from the awards. When they came to talk to me and learned that I was a mere student and not a journalist, they were chefs to me and not celebrities.”
During the awards, he was also surprised by the words of the awards winners, “Every chef who received an award dedicated it to their team at the restaurant, which changed my perspective and gave me new rigor to be better,” he shares. “I would like each and every student at Kendall to believe that all of us can reach that pinnacle if we work hard enough.”
Kendall College was a proud sponsor of the 2016 James Beard Awards held in Chicago. Learn more.