Oyindamola Johnson
Oyindamola Johnson, 2017 Student Chef Recipe Contest WinnerWhen Ola Johnson was 15, her mother gave her an interesting birthday gift – sessions with a cooking tutor.

“My tutor inspired me to question everything – and so I did,” Johnson recalls. “I would stay up all night trying to find alternatives to classic culinary rules. I failed a lot, but I also had some wins.”

At school, Johnson’s culinary instructor and mentor, Chef Marcus Lempke, encouraged this creativity while also keeping her grounded and reminding her to focus on simplicity first.

After graduating school, Johnson plans to “gain experience that will further my knowledge and enable me to become a better chef.” Through her pursuit of additional experience, she also intends to develop her creativity.

Even as a student, Johnson has already begun to experiment with unique ingredients, including duck. Overall, she finds working with this protein very easy. “No other bird boasts as much flavor and utility as duck.” Her Duck Stuffed Plantain Schupfnudeln with Tomato Sauce demonstrates her imaginative spirit and duck’s adaptability to a variety of preparation styles and cuisines.

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