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Chris Stirs up Success: From cooking for Julia Child to John Madden, Chris shares his culinary journey

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Chris Stirs up Success: From cooking for Julia Child to John Madden, Chris shares his culinary journey

Chris serves up chicken tenders and smiles to students in the Grille during Upper School lunch. He said he appreciates the students and their friendly nature.

Chris serves up chicken tenders and smiles to students in the Grille during Upper School lunch. He said he appreciates the students and their friendly nature.

Chris serves up chicken tenders and smiles to students in the Grille during Upper School lunch. He said he appreciates the students and their friendly nature.

Chris serves up chicken tenders and smiles to students in the Grille during Upper School lunch. He said he appreciates the students and their friendly nature.

Sidney Seybold, Staff Writer

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  Most kids have a childhood hero growing up. Whether it be a superhero, a TV character or an actual person, they have a role model they look up to and may even strive to be like. The Trinity Grille’s Chef Manager Chris Behrens looked up to Julia Child, as a kid. She inspired him to become the chef he is today.

  “I remember Julia Child on T.V.,” Behrens said. “That voice, something about that voice, and I just got hooked on watching [her] be creative.”

  After graduating from culinary school at The Art Institute of New York in New York City, Behrens worked at a popular, well-renowned Scandinavian restaurant, where he served many celebrities, including his own childhood hero Julia Child.

  “I didn’t panic,” Behrens said. “You think you’re [amazing] when you come out of school, but I did sneak to the side door to check her out from a distance, and we could see her from there. To realize as a I got older what she brought to the party, as far as culinary, it was amazing to think about what we did.”

  Along with Julia Child, Chris also cooked for many celebrities, including head coach of the Oakland Raiders John Madden, Ray Romano from “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Ice Age,” Bobby Flay from “Worst Cooks in America” and Michael Lomonaco, who was a renowned chef at the World Trade Center during the attack on 9/11.

  Continuing on his culinary journey, Behrens took a job working in a food truck and cooked for the Godzilla movie. He shared the truck with another chef, who accidentally turned away service to the director of the movie. The director was outraged, and the other chef was fired.

  “From that day forward, if you tell me right now you’re hungry, I’ll make you food,” Behrens said. “I don’t turn anybody away for that reason. You don’t know who you’re feeding.”

  Chris additionally had the opportunity to work as a chef for the first remake of “Planet of the Apes.” He took away some exciting memories from the experience.

  “We’re about to feed [the actors], and they say ‘look out the window,’ so I look out the window, and all these apes are coming without their heads,” Behrens said. “So they were all in ape bodies, all the extras. They were with dressed in ape bodies with their regular heads. It was the coolest thing.”

  As exciting as headless apes might seem, Chris decided to leave the life of pretentious celebrities and directors and was offered a job with corporate Disney.

  “For most of the year, it was Disney,” Behrens said. “My building [that I cooked for]—it wasn’t for the parks, it wasn’t the kids, it was actually the president and the finance teams that were all adults,”

  Though Mickey Mouse pancakes may sound enchanting, the corporate side wasn’t as magical as Cinderella’s castle.

  “They didn’t smile,” Behrens said. “It was a toxic environment.”

  In 2017, Chris accepted the job of Chef Manager at Trinity. Between the intriguing family of sandhill cranes and the hardworking Grille staff, Chris has come to love Trinity and its unique environment.

  “I just fell in love with the surrounding area, and the campus itself is just beautiful,” Behrens said. “Everybody just seemed so friendly and welcoming.”

  Chris says that the incredible Grille staff is a big help and makes his job easier.

  “You don’t have to babysit anybody, and Jonathan I brought in,” Behrens said. “He was with me at Disney as well, and I know what he’s capable of. And [Marisol]’s a beast; she runs this whole show. Everything here gets done by her. And Olga, she’s the sandwich artist.”

  Olga Quinones has worked at Trinity for 14 years and has seen many familiar students come and go. She loves photography and hopes to one day go to Europe to take more photos.

  “I want to travel to Europe,” Quinones said. “I would like to go by train to all the parts to [see] the landscape.”

  Jonathan Lugo, who worked with Chris prior to coming to Trinity, is from Puerto Rico and loves amusement parks. When he’s not riding Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens, Lugo is in the kitchen. His passion for cooking started at a young age in Puerto Rico.

  “I always liked to cook, since I was a kid, and I had the opportunity to go to culinary school, and I just jumped to the opportunity,” Lugo said.

  Chef Chris Behrens, who is hardworking and experienced, is so much more than a quesadilla flipper or a tater tot fryer. He, along with the other members of the Grille staff, has his own unique background and stories. From preparing pâté for Julia Child to witnessing a mob of headless apes, everyone has something to bring to the table. All you have to do is ask.

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About the Writer
Sidney Seybold, Staff Writer

Sidney Seybold is a 10th grader at Trinity Prep and is currently a staff writer for the Lifestyles department. She spends her free time dribbling on the...

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Chris Stirs up Success: From cooking for Julia Child to John Madden, Chris shares his culinary journey