Acclaimed Chef Returns to JWU as Mentor

DVC Timon Balloo and JWU students on the lineJWU grad and Food & Wine-nominated “People’s Best New Chef 2011” Timon Balloo recently returned to the North Miami Campus as a mentor, not a student, when he was honored as the latest Distinguished Visiting Chef.

For one night, Balloo, executive chef at Miami hotspot Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, took over the same kitchen where he learned his craft, whipping up a 4-course dinner benefiting the university’s scholarship fund.

Prior to the dinner, Balloo spent the day with students, sharing advice and lessons from his own career. “Work hard and do whatever it takes,” he told them. “Don’t worry about the money. Work for free if you have to.”

Later that evening, Timon worked side by side with students to create the evening’s menu for 60 diners.

Afterward, he was clearly impressed with their work ethic: “Their professionalism was remarkable… they were so energetic to be in the industry.”

He also extended open-ended internship offers to them when they were ready.

Watching diners enjoyed decadent dishes like mirin-glazed short ribs and vanilla-soaked brioche with bacon ice cream, Timon was obviously pleased to be back. “It’s a pleasure to see how much the campus has grown.”

PHOTOS: See students working side by side with Timon in the kitchen.