Meet Our Rising Chefs
Student Chef Max Righi
My name is Max, I was born and raised in Mexico City. My passion of cooking was born from trying new ingredients and discovering unique flavors. I have lived and worked in kitchens in Argentina, Mexico, United Kingdom and currently the US. I love getting to know new cultures from the culinary perspective and understanding the traditions behind them.
Student Chef Helen Zhao
My name is Helen Zhao and I currently claim Alaska as my home state. I have a passion for nature. I often spend hours wandering outside taking in the sights, smells, and sounds around me. My time in Alaska has allowed me to fully embrace my inner explorer. One of my most vivid memories connecting food with nature is one where I debated with myself what dish most captured the definition of fall.
I concluded it was mitarashi dango. I felt this dish fully captured the colors of the season’s foliage with its amber colored glaze and perfectly browned rice balls. The light char on the rice balls reflected the light smokiness that lingered in the autumnal air as houses lit their wood burning stoves. The sweet and salty taste with caramel undertones satisfied my craving for something sweet but savory. While in Alaska, I learnt to hunt, fish, and forage. This subsistence lifestyle has increased my respect for the environment around me. I strive to use sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients that I believe would best highlight each component of my dish. I plan to continue honing my culinary skills and one day travel to different countries to experience how their environment is reflected in their cuisine.
Student Chef Bryce Gordon
Twenty-one years young, Kahala Klash finalist and New Orleans native, but Houston has become a second home. A little about me consist of working out, gaming, and recipe hunting, being from New Orleans I feel as if my pallet has a craving for only Cajun food, but my goal is to expand my taste buds and attempt to fuse my culture with others, being a part of this student culinary board and forever oceans is definitely my steppingstone into it.
Student Chef Mehak Rawal
I am Mehak Rawal and I a student at The Culinary Institute of America pursuing Bachelors in Applied Food Studies with Baking and Pastry as my core!
I know at first, it is surprising to see that a baking and pastry student participating in a culinary competition, but what motivated me to be a part of this prestigious cook-off was my love and passion for cooking Indian curries. The moment I read that we had to create a recipe featuring the gorgeous Kahala, I knew it would be one of my favorite curries, the Goan Fish Curry!
I have grown up eating this food and whenever I cook it, I make it with spices and a lot of LOVE! It’s all about the heart!
I am honored to be part of this Board and I look forward to connecting dots and becoming the Chef I have always dreamed of becoming!
Student Chef Gakuyu Suzuki
I was one of the 8 contestants for the Kahala Klash cook off, and I am a bachelor’s student at The Culinary Institute of America. Kahala is a delicious, sustainable, and capable to fit in various cuisines. Join us and we will develop contemporary recipes for you!
Student Chef Justin Kramer
Originally from Washington, D.C. where I worked in politics and law, I shifted careers and moved to San Antonio, TX to pursue a degree in culinary arts, specializing in baking and pastry arts. Since moving, I’ve worked in multiple positions in the industry including lead baker for the largest bakery in Texas, pastry chef for a local bakery, and currently, as the head pastry chef for a new set of restaurants in San Antonio.
My love for culinary arts has been something I’ve nurtured myself since I was a kid, but ultimately I made the decision that I wanted to go to law school and moved to D.C. It wasn’t until the pandemic locked us all inside for months and I had plenty of time at home that I realized my passion and what I wanted to do was baking and pastry. All of my free time I was testing recipes and teaching myself new skills and it became apparent that was where my heart was, and I haven’t looked back since.
Student Chef Nadia L. Gonzalez
Nadia L. Gonzalez is currently a first-year Baking & Pastry student at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, Texas. She found her love for the pastry arts at a young age and chose to pursue it during the pandemic after realizing it truly is what she wants to do in life. She hopes to open her own bakery back in her hometown of Brownsville, Texas sometime in the future. Gonzalez participated and was 1 of the 8 finalists for the Forever Oceans Kahala Klash Cook-Off Scholarship Competition, where she won the People’s Choice Award thanks to all the support from her family and friends. She is truly grateful for all the opportunities that Forever Oceans has given her and is ecstatic to be working with them as part of their new student lead culinary board.
Student Chef Colin Shillingburg
Colin Shillingburg grew up in Colorado, has lived across the United States, and has traveled extensively. He attributes his early curiosity and passion for the many cuisines he has experienced throughout his lifetime. Colin earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Science at Boise State University and is currently earning his second bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America. His style combines diverse flavors and healthy ingredients. His passion for food brings more than just a meal to the table; it brings multisensory, meaningful experiences to everyone around him.
Forever Oceans hosted 8 rising chefs to compete in the 2021 Kahala Klash. These exceptional students from CIA campuses nationwide fought in an intense head-to-head battle for the title of Seafood Master. See them in action, click below.