In the world of culinary excellence, few moments are as exhilarating as watching a talented chef rise to the occasion and shine. Brady Foster, an accomplished chef and 2017 graduate of Ivy Tech Indianapolis culinary arts program, made waves in the culinary world throughout 2023. His journey from being a local cafe owner to representing Team Indiana at the World Food Championships in Dallas, Texas, is nothing short of remarkable.
Foster's journey to the World Food Championships was not without its challenges. He opened Foster's Cafe and Catering on Ivy Tech’s Lawrence campus in March 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The pandemic forced Ivy Tech to enforce social distancing, and Foster faced immense uncertainty as a new business owner.
"I thank God for Ivy Tech because they allowed me to remain in that space in Lawrence during that difficult time," Foster shared. "All the savings that I had was gone. All the money friends had given me to help start my business was also gone. And I wasn't able to get any loans because the government was like, 'You're a new business, and you haven't lost enough money.' But God got me through, and we just adapted as best we could until it was time to fully open up."
Eventually, Foster's Cafe and Catering inside the Fairbanks Building became the thriving hub for delicious breakfast and lunch specialties that we know today. After gaining valuable experience in the cafe, Foster decided to step into the competitive arena in 2023.
From Cafe Owner to Culinary Competitor
At the beginning of 2023, Foster threw his hat in the ring for Second Helpings annual Souper Bowl. His Ethiopian Spiced Smoked Lamb Stew came in first place, showcasing his diverse culinary talents.
Then, Foster’s culinary journey took a significant leap forward when he claimed the top spot at the TURN Festival's Perfect Bite Competition, held at the Indianapolis Paramount Schools of Excellence in September. His winning dish, seared lamb chops with pumpkin polenta and sofrito, was not only a treat for the taste buds but also a testament to his culinary artistry.
"This is a blessing," Foster exclaimed. "I went into this competition just trying to do my best. These people are titans in our industry, so to come away with a win is just a blessing to me."
The Perfect Bite Competition featured 20 talented Hoosier chefs, and Foster's victory earned him a coveted "golden ticket" – an invitation to join Team Indiana at the World Food Championships in Dallas, Texas.
Joining Foster on Team Indiana were three other remarkable chefs associated with Ivy Tech: Jenni Schouppe, an assistant professor of baking and pastry and hospitality program coordinator at Ivy Tech Indianapolis; Cindy Hawkin, a former baking instructor at Ivy Tech Indianapolis of nine years; and Marcus Daniel, an Ivy Tech Fort Wayne graduate. Together with several of the state’s top chefs in varying disciplines, they formed a formidable team ready to take on the world's culinary stage.
The World Food Championships is a highly competitive event that attracts top culinary talent from around the globe. It's a platform where chefs can showcase their skills, creativity, and passion for the art of cooking. Brady Foster represented not only himself but also his Ivy Tech family and community.
"I'm a proud Ivy Tech grad. If anything else, I hope to make Ivy Tech proud. Ivy Tech is my family, my community. And in whatever I do, I try to make God, my community, and my family happy," Foster expressed.
Foster made it to the World Rice and Noodle Championship finals, where he placed seventh overall. He said that although he didn’t win, he wouldn’t change the experience he had for the world.
“We had a ball, made great connections, and met some great chefs and colleagues. We'll be back next year and better than ever,” Foster wrote on social media.
As Brady Foster continues his culinary journey, he not only represents his own achievements but also the strength and resilience of the Ivy Tech community. His dedication, creativity, and passion for the culinary arts are an inspiration to chefs and food enthusiasts alike.
“There’s something to be said about the school that you represent, appreciating you back and making you feel so proud to be a part of such a great college!” Foster shared about Ivy Tech and the support he has felt throughout his year of competing. “Thank you, Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, and a big shout out to the Lawrence campus for loving on me all these years.”
Brady Foster is a culinary talent to watch, and his star is on the rise.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.