Young Orange County chef facing a sweet future

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An Orange County teen found focus and purpose in an unexpected place: a deli kitchen. (KABC)

An Orange County teen found focus and purpose in an unexpected place: a deli kitchen. Now, thanks to hard work, dedication and support from culinary mentors, this young chef is facing a sweet future.

Two years ago, Max McCarthy was bored with school. With nothing grabbing his attention, the high school junior struggled to keep his grades up. Uncertain about his future education, he took a job as a dishwasher at Sessions West Coast Deli.

"To be honest, we never thought he'd last two weeks. He kept coming back. We kept challenging him," Sessions culinary director Max Schultz said.

And with each challenge, Max's passion for cooking started to grow. Schultz noticed and took his namesake under his wing.

Little Max, as his co-workers call him, excelled, and was promoted to prep cook of the restaurant's new Huntington Beach location.

"I didn't have to sit down and take a test or anything. I was always up on my feet, working, making cool stuff for people," Max said.

He joined his school's culinary team, pulled his grades up and recently graduated. Just this week, he was accepted to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York.

"He wants it from the business side as well as the artistic side, and I couldn't have been more proud of him. He just wanted to apply," Schultz said.

"It was really awesome to watch this young man grow into a mature adult and really become passionate about something," Sessions owner Matt Meddock said.

Max also earned a scholarship toward a four-year program at the institute. He wants to open his own restaurant someday, something he never would have dreamed of before he started here.

"It's totally turned my life around. It's impacted everything so much. I wouldn't be where I am today without this place," Max said.
Related Topics:
societycooking chefcookingfoodcareersHuntington BeachOrange County
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