Culinary arts teacher to get taste of Japan; Visits to markets, schools are planned for three-week trip


Homemade noodles hang on a drying rack next to a gigantic pot of chicken noodle soup made from scratch. Culinary arts students at the Center for Applied Technology North in Severn savor small cups of their steaming creation. They give much of the credit for their successes and their love of cooking to their teacher, Bruce S. Davis.

But they aren't the only ones who appreciate Davis' enthusiasm for learning and culinary technique.

Davis left yesterday for a three-week trip to Japan through the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program, which has sent 600 American teachers and administrators abroad every year since 1997. Two hundred educators are selected for each of three annual trips to experience Japanese culture to enrich their curricula, students and community.

"If anyone was to get the award, it should be him," said Kris L. McKenzie, a senior planning to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., after graduating.

Davis started cooking at age 12 with his family's catering business in Pennsylvania. After graduating 10th out of 432 students from the Culinary Institute of America, he spent several years with Marriott Corp. and 10 years as the executive chef of Clyde's in Columbia. He left the restaurant business six years ago to teach at the Center for Applied Technology, a transition that he said was "just natural."

Davis' group of 200 was chosen out of more than 2,500 applicants to participate in the Japanese-sponsored program. The Fulbright Memorial Fund was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-initiated Fulbright Program, created in 1946 to foster multicultural understanding among students and educators. The program for teachers began a year after the fund's creation.

"I know he will learn a lot about cooking, because that is what he does. He is always cooking," said junior Kathy S. Paris.

Keith M. Moore, a junior in Davis' culinary arts class, said he can't wait for Davis to share his new cooking techniques and understanding of Japanese culture.

Davis will be visiting primary, secondary and vocational schools, where he intends to observe Japanese teachers managing classrooms.

"The main focus for me is to learn how to produce better students that are multicultural," Davis said.

He will travel to Tokyo, where the educators will be split into groups of 20 and travel to 10 prefectures, or states. He will visit the city of Nishinomiya, where he will deliver to the mayor proclamations of greeting from Gov. Parris N. Glendening and County Executive Janet S. Owens.

Davis plans to visit food markets and restaurants, and to trade his noodle recipe for Japanese recipes from his host family. He has promised his students a lesson on sushi when he returns.

Davis has set up a Web site where he will post photos and stories describing his stops in Japan. He and his students got a head start exploring Japanese culture when a Japanese teacher visited their class last year to demonstrate origami. In addition, Davis' nephew married a Japanese woman last year.

"I think those were just omens for winning this award," he said.

Pub Date: 10/04/99

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