While on vacation for winter break, the Lake area native is preparing a special three-course dinner for patrons of The Bull Pen, a private dining club in Osage Beach, for a one night only event on Saturday, December 30, 2017.

Approximately 1,200 miles from home in Camdenton, Cody Ray currently studies at one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the world.

Located in Hyde Park, New York, The Culinary Institute of America is home to some of the brightest young chefs across the globe, including the Camdenton High School alum who also excelled in the Lake Career and Technical Center culinary arts pathway.

While on vacation for winter break, the Lake area native is preparing a special three-course dinner for patrons of The Bull Pen, a private dining club in Osage Beach, for a one night only event on Saturday, December 30, 2017.

Ray, currently a Chef Stagiaire, which means a chef in training, has interned under the Head Chef of The Bull Pen and has been bestowed the honor of Guest Chef for a featured menu that includes broccoli cheddar cheese soup appetizer, poulet cinnochi con veloute entree, and vin poire aver croute for dessert.

Enrolled in an advanced bachelor fast track program at CIA, Ray is targeting graduation in 2020 and hopes to take his talents international after getting his start in his hometown.

The Ray family used to own Little Shop of Hers/Cafe, a small restaurant formerly in Osage Beach near Route KK, where Cody began his culinary career bussing tables and washing dishes. Working his way up waiting table and becoming a “little chef” before apprenticing at The Bull Pen.

“It’s something I’ve always been interested in and has been a hobby of mine,” Cody said of his passion. “When I started taking culinary classes at LCTC, I loved learning all the information. Chef Wilson, who was my teacher for two years, was really the first industrial person with a lot of experience I learned from. It blew my mind and I really got into culinary science and molecular gastronomy.”

Cody credits his parents and grandparents for always encouraging him, especially after making mistakes, which he admits is a normal part of working in any kitchen. He still remembers baking cookies in his grandmother’s kitchen.

“You will screw up. You are going to get yelled at,” Cody said. “They’ve been huge, encouraging me to get through things and keep going.”

Cody said guests who attend won’t be served traditional American cuisine, but will receive “great, home cooking.” Each recipe is a spinoff from CIA restaurants on campus that the chef has tweaked with his own creative touch, something he cites celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay for inspiration.

After graduation, the Camdenton alum plans to work in various restaurants, perhaps internationally, hoping to soak up experience from a wide range of culinary cultures before maybe opening a business of his own.

Reservations required for this One Night Only at The Bull Pen Fine Dining Restaurant on Hwy KK in Osage Beach with Guest Chef Stagiaire Cody Ray of The Culinary Institute of America in New York. To reserve your table or for inquiries please call 573-348-6007.