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Monroe Culinary Reaches Milestone at Greater New York Culinary Challenge

On May 11, more than 40 students and professional chefs converged on the New Rochelle Campus to compete in the Greater New York Culinary Challenge (GNYCC) at the Culinary Arts Center. Besides medals awarded at this competition, there was another award at stake: The Dean’s Cup. This award, given by Dean Frank C. Costantino to the outstanding student culinarian, was on the line for 10 of Monroe's most accomplished young culinary competitors.

The competition was an "iron chef" format that had the students preparing an entrée from a basket of ingredients. First-year student Rossella Cangialosi, Barry Tech BOCES, won the inaugural Dean’s Cup with a silver medal for her sautéed chicken breast with mushroom sauce. Runner-up to the cup, also a silver-medal winner, Sade Aguila, 2011 America's Best HS Chef from Food and Finance, recorded a milestone medal, earning the 400th competition medal won by Monroe Culinary since April 2009.

Silver medals were also won by Enmely Soriano (Passaic County Tech), Kencito Vernon (Food and Finance), Yocary Luna, 2012 America’s Best High School Chef from Food and Finance, and Kimani Hines, Gateway School. Bronze medals in the Dean’s cup were won by Katherine Taveras, C-CAP Philly and captain of the 2013 Junior Culinary Team, along with her teammates, Carmen Albino, Port Richmond C-CAP, and Laura Sanchez, Passaic County Tech. Lealy Irizarry, Truman High School, also earned a bronze medal.

Other Monroe Culinary students were vying for medals, as well. Alberto Obando, LIC High School, earned his first individual student medal, a silver, for his trio of Cornish game hen. It was student gold medals for Jovita Palafox, Port Richmond C-CAP student, whose chocolate/banana cake was a favorite of the judges, and Nashali Rivera, Food and Finance C-CAP student, who impressed the judges with her Cornish hen dish. Rivera earned the highest score posted on the day. Brenda Lara, Port Richmond C-CAP student, earned her first professional gold medal in pastry for her tropical entremets with mango-caramel glaze. Lara registered higher scores in her category than the professional chefs who competed.

Les Dames d’Escoffier–Chicago Announces 2013 Scholarship Recipients

The Chicago Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) recently awarded scholarships totaling $22,500 to female students enrolled in professional culinary- and baking/pastry-arts programs throughout greater Chicago.

For more than 30 years, Les Dames d’Escoffier–Chicago has awarded scholarships to women pursuing careers in food, nutrition, wine and hospitality while enrolled full time in certificate- and degree-granting programs in Chicago-area postsecondary institutions. This year, scholarships in amounts of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,250 were granted based on academic performance, dedication to community service and financial need. Additionally, each recipient will be assigned a mentor from the local LDEI chapter to share expertise and guidance.

“Women are a significant force in Chicago’s vibrant culinary and hospitality scenes,” says Judith Dunbar Hines, chair of the 2013 Scholarship Committee of LDEI–Chicago and owner of Judith Dunbar Hines Culinary Services. “Since 1982, our members have lived our philanthropic mission in part by annually distributing scholarships and grants to assist women pursuing their passion. We’re proud, in our 31th year, to continue this grand tradition by recognizing and assisting seven talented students with the potential to become rising stars in the realm of food.”

S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition Ascends Le Cordon Bleu Student to Next Level in Her Culinary Career with National Win

Kristen Thibeault of Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts in Boston is the winner of the 11th-annual S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. She competed in multiple cooking competitions for the accolades, proving excellence at The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, Calif.

Thibeault outshined nine competing peers from the United States and Canada with her signature dish, Porcini Crusted Vegan “Sweetbreads.” Her dish concept was formulated in October and had since been developed and refined, all toward the intense three-day competition. In addition to those in the kitchen, the front-of-house judge panel, Michelin Star and James Beard Foundation award-winning chefs—Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia; Rick Moonen of RM Seafood; Michel Richard of Citronelle; Mark McEwan of One; Susur Lee of LEE Restaurant; and Jean Joho of Everest—furthered the development of Thibeault through mentorship and critiques.

Throughout the weekend, all finalists were in the spotlight of culinary-focused media influencers, who also served as active judges, including Dana Cowin of Food & Wine, Betsy Andrews of Saveur, Mitchell Davis of The James Beard Foundation, Jacob Richler of Maclean’s and Sophie Gayot of gayot.com.

“The culinary industry is competitive and there is not a competition of this nature that exists for students,” said Mantuano. “It is really necessary to have a competition like this for our next generation of great chefs.”

DuPage Teens Have Strong Showing at 2013 Illinois SkillsUSA

Fourteen high-school students representing Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) in Addison, Ill., placed among the top 10 in five contests—including a 1-2-3 sweep in Commercial Baking—at the 2013 Illinois SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference. The annual state championships were held April 11-13 in Springfield with more than 1,300 participants competing in nearly 100 contests.

TCD’s culinary students had a particularly strong showing. Three seniors swept the top spots in the Commercial Baking division: Jonathan Bedell of Naperville (first place), Christine Hood of Darien (second), and Christopher Reusz of Downers Grove (third). In the same contest, two more TCD seniors—Briana Wills of Lombard and Alan Topalovic of Woodridge—placed fifth and eighth, respectively.

Teens Win Scholarships with Healthy Chili Dishes in Nationwide C-CAP Meatless Monday Recipe Contest

Winners of the 2013 C-CAP Meatless Monday Chili Recipe Contest were announced in March by Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), the national leader providing scholarships, education and career opportunities in the culinary arts to underserved youth, and Meatless Monday, an initiative of the nonprofit The Monday Campaigns, which provides healthy and environmentally friendly information and recipes.

Thousands of C-CAP high-school seniors became “head chefs” in their classrooms and were introduced to the Meatless Monday public-health campaign encouraging everyone to start each week with a healthy meal. While working with their culinary-arts teachers to concoct the original meatless chili entrée, the teens were encouraged to use the recipe contest to explore new fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.

Monroe College Announces America’s Best High School Chef and Pastry Chef in 5th-Annual Competition

On March 2, Monroe College hosted more than 40 high-school students from throughout the New York City metro area as they competed for the titles of America’s Best High School Chef and Pastry Chef in the fifth-annual competition sponsored by the Monroe College School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts in The Bronx.

First-, Second- and Third-Place Winners

America's Best Chef:

1. Abdallah Farraj, Port Richmond High School, Staten Island

2. Anthony Evans, Harry S. Truman High School, Bronx

3. Carlesha Alston, Food and Finance High School, Manhattan

Kendall College Chef Instructor and Alum Win Silver Medal in National Culinology® Competition

The team of Eric Stein, MS, RD, CCE, a chef-instructor at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, and Jaime Mestan, CSC, a Kendall culinary alum (’08) and research chef at Ed Miniat, Inc., in South Holland, Ill., took second place, a silver medal and a cash award of $3,000 at the second-annual Professional Culinology® Competition, March 8 in Charlotte, N.C., held in conjunction with the Research Chefs Association’s (RCA) Annual Conference and Culinology Expo.

Stein and Mestan beat two other teams with their three-concept entry that comprised an “N.C. BLT,” fried shrimp-and-grits ravioli with Texas Pete dipping sauce, and “The Ultimate Southern Sundae.” The competition, which was sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), called for two-person teams to submit menu ideas reflecting North Carolina regional cuisine via an appetizer for fine dining, a shareable appetizer for casual dining and a fine-dining or casual-dining dessert.

Prior to the competition, teams prepared their concepts and shipped them frozen to Charlotte. On competition day, each team created the fresh versions of its commercialized concepts and was judged in part against how well the plated, commercialized products matched up against the gold standards prepared on site. Entries were judged by a panel of culinary R&D experts against criteria that included originality of concept, nutritional profile, manufacturing feasibility, flavor, aroma, texture, presentation and safety standards.

CIA Heritage Professor Sonnenschmidt Returns to Speak with Graduates

Frederic “Fritz” Sonnenschmidt, CMC, AAC, spent 34 years as a faculty member and dean of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) before his retirement in 2002. More than a decade later, he returned to the college’s Hyde Park, N.Y., campus to deliver words of encouragement and inspiration to 69 recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.

“Cooking and baking is an art. It is a science. And it is a way of sharing,” Sonnenschmidt told graduates at the commencement ceremony on March 1. “Listen and learn and be willing to share your knowledge and allow others to share with you. That’s how you will stay on the cutting edge.”

Sonnenschmidt founded the Gourmet Society student organization at the CIA when he began teaching in 1968. The college was still located in New Haven, Conn., at the time, four years before moving to its current location in the Hudson Valley. The Gourmet Society remains active on the CIA campus to this day.

Maple Leaf Farms Launches 2013 Chef Recipe Contest

news4_march13Maple Leaf Farms is calling for entries for the 2013 Discover Duck Recipe Contest now through June 7, 2013. Open to professional chefs and culinary students, the 2013 contest features more prizes than ever with awards for each of the top five finalists in the professional chef and culinary student categories.

This year’s contest challenges entrants to create an amazing duck appetizer or small plate recipes that can be shared by two to four people. Recipe entries must include a Maple Leaf Farms duck product and will be judged according to originality, flavor, accuracy of the recipe and innovative use of duck products. Professional and student chef recipes will be judged in separate categories, each with their own cash prizes.

Talented Teens Bring the Illinois ProStart Culinary Trophy Back to Technology Center of DuPage

news3_march13The big traveling trophy is back again at Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) in Addison. On Feb. 23, TCD’s high-school culinary team pulled off a repeat state championship win at the 12th Annual Illinois ProStart Invitational, hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF). TCD team members include Julia Matiradonna, Zachary Molokie (both from Carol Stream), Jared Dollinger of Glen Ellyn and Benjamin Kitchen of Wheaton. All are high-school seniors and second-year students in TCD’s Culinary, Pastry Arts & Hospitality Management program. As state ProStart champs, the TCD team now has the honor of representing Illinois at the National ProStart Invitational, April 19-21, in Baltimore, Md.