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Chef Stupak: Achieving His Dream in Culinary Arts

Chef Stupak: Achieving His Dream in Culinary Arts

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All of his life, Alex Stupak has had a passion for foods. It started when the Massachusetts native received his first cookbook for kids at the age of seven. Right away Stupak made his first creation: homemade Russian dressing, a condiment his mother adored.

From that moment, Stupak knew that all he ever wanted to do was cook. “I had it in my head from a very young age that I would own my own restaurant one day,” he says. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to make his dream come true. Stupak sought out his first restaurant gig at the age of 12. He wanted the job so much that he told employers he was the legal working age of 14. He started as a dishwasher, the first step toward his culinary arts career.

“If I washed dishes,” he says, “then maybe they would let me peel a potato, and if I got to peel a potato, then maybe they would let me cut something with a knife.”

Later, Stupak joined his school’s culinary arts program, along with the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, and began competing at the national level. Through scholarships and hard work, Stupak earned his culinary degree and broke into the professional scene in the form of an externship at Clio in Boston. Since then he has worked under top chefs like Grant Achatz in the cities of Boston, Chicago, and New York. For every restaurant and mentor he worked with, Stupak gained more information on running a restaurant, learning from his superiors and writing new menu ideas along the way. Finally, in March of 2010, Stupak’s dream became a reality.

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He opened Empellón Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant, a change of pace after spending most of his career as a pastry chef. “I decided that Mexican food is what I loved to eat the most,” he says, and so the logical step for him was to make that his medium. Chef Stupak has achieved his ultimate dream, but his purpose remains the same. From an early age, he says, “I started to use cooking as my way of reaching out to people and expressing myself.” Today, he still uses it as a personal connection. “I think the idea of cooking being about making people happy and living a life of congeniality is an important thing not to lose.”

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