Food Network Contestant to Speak at the Legacy Project – Posted 2/23/17

The Legacy Project, an interdisciplinary initiative at County College of Morris (CCM) that delivers engaging lectures for faculty, staff and the community, will present its third event of the 2016-17 academic year on Latin America. This event promises to be a treat for the senses, featuring a mini concert by Cubano Be Cubano Bop, a local seven-piece band, and a lecture by Ronaldo Linares, local chef and contestant on Food Network’s “Chopped.”

The event takes place Tuesday, March 21, noon – 2 p.m., in the Student Community Center, Davidson Rooms A-D, on CCM’s Randolph campus, 214 Center Grove Road. The event is free and open to the public.

From noon to 12:45 p.m., Cubano Be Cubano Bop will welcome attendees with a mini concert, playing Afro-Cuban music featuring two horns, keyboard, bass and three percussionists (timbales, bongos, congas).

At 12:45 p.m., Linares will deliver his lecture. He has been in the kitchen since he could walk and has thrived with his different ventures – from being a Marine, to graduating from culinary school, to performing mixed martial arts, to authoring a book – all while running his restaurant with his family, balancing fatherhood and being a husband.

Born in Colombia during the turbulent cartel wars of the 1980s, Linares turned to cooking as his main ingredient in his journey from young immigrant, to rebellious teen, to successful chef and media personality. His cuisine is rustic/refined, drawing inspiration from the traditional dishes of his Colombian mother, an accomplished home cook, and his Cuban father, a French-trained chef.

From 1:30 – 2 p.m., attendees can enjoy another performance by Cubano Be Cubano Bop, as Linares signs his new cookbook, “Sabores de Cuba,” which will be on sale at the event.

The Legacy Project launched at CCM in 2013 with a panel discussion on civil rights. Over the years, the lecture series has grown in size and regularly gathers crowds of more than 300 people. The committee of faculty and staff who choose speakers and topics have focused on important issues, including the genocide in Rwanda, the Holocaust, Hurricane Katrina, prison reform and Latin American culture.

Visitors must obtain a parking pass from the Public Safety office, which is located across from Parking Lot 10 (a campus map can be found at To reserve a seat, send an email to

Photo: Ronaldo Linares, local chef and contestant on Food Network’s “Chopped.”