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Matthieu Henry: Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau is a national holiday in France, and this year it was a celebration for Columbus State student Matthieu Henry.

Henry, a 23-year-old student in Columbus State's Culinary Apprentice program, created a dish for the Beaujolais Nouveau event at La Chatelaine, a local chain of French restaurants. Beaujolais Nouveau is a holiday that marks the release of the first new wine of the year.

Henry's winning dish was a chardonnay-braised roasted chicken with a reduction of fresh tomatoes and olives, almonds, and jasmine rice. Judges came from the Columbus Dispatch and Capital Style.

"I found the recipe and made it my own," Henry says.

Henry was born in Haiti, then moved to the U.S. when he was 17. He finished high school in Miami, Fla., studied nursing in Massachusetts, then came to Ohio to attend Columbus State's culinary program. The Culinary Apprentice program is an intense course combining classroom work with internships at real restaurants. Henry works at the Westin Great Southern hotel downtown.

Henry has also earned a spot on Columbus State's Hot Food Team, which competes against other schools in cooking skills, knife skills and menu preparation. The team faces its first match in January, and is a perennial powerhouse in the region.

So Henry is going to cooking school, working in a restaurant and competing on a cooking team. Not bad for someone who hardly stepped into a kitchen before coming to Columbus State.

"That is a lot of cooking, but it's what I want to do," Henry says.

Columbus State Culinary grads can be found in the kitchens of Columbus' finest restaurants. The Culinary Apprentice program is part of Columbus State's Hospitality Department, which also includes Baking, Hotel & Restaurant Management, Dietary Manager and Casino Management.