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International Food & Beverage Forum Hall of Fame Opens at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago

The great work of chefs and those in the hospitality industry is often gone once guests leave the restaurant, but a new Hall of Fame at the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago will showcase the work of the best in the industry. Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago has been chosen to house the new International Food & Beverage Forum “Hall of Fame.”

Launched June 23, the new International Food & Beverage Forum Hall of Fame provides international recognition for prestigious chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers and other food and beverage personalities. The Hall of Fame features certificates, historic menus, commemorative plates from special dinners held around the world, and other items to showcase the success of these respected professionals. 

“The new International Food & Beverage Forum Hall of Fame is a gem to share with current and prospective students, as well as visitors to our school,” says Kirk T. Bachmann, president of Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. “It is an honor for us to permanently house this collection on our campus, as it will serve as a great source of inspiration and a valuable resource to aid in our students’ professional development.” 

The grand-opening celebrations began with a 20th-anniversary gala dinner on June 22 at Technique restaurant on the campus of Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. A ribbon-cutting ceremony followed the next day with remarks from Dr. hc Kurt H. Fischer, founder of the International Food & Beverage Forum. “Le Cordon Bleu is a perfect match for the International Food & Beverage Forum as both organizations share a passion for excellence in the hospitality industry,” Fischer says. “The Chicago location is an ideal home for the International Food & Beverage Forum Hall of Fame to showcase the great work of food and beverage industry personalities who have come before these students and will fuel their passion for the industry.”

Monroe Culinary Student Wins National Recognition in ACF “Lead Like Mike” Competition

Gabriela Grande, a culinary-arts student at Monroe College in the Bronx, N.Y., has added a victory in the “Lead Like Mike” competition to her list of impressive culinary accomplishments. Grande was the 2010 America’s Best High School Chef winner, a C-CAP student from Food and Finance High School, and the first Monroe culinary student to compete at the American Culinary Federation’s Northeast Regional Conference, where she won a gold medal and finished second overall. 

Grande attended the 2013 ACF National Convention in Las Vegas, July 21–25, where Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, outgoing president, served as her personal mentor.  Grande, a member of the ACF Long Island Chapter, was selected as winner of the “Lead Like Mike” contest from a group of four other semifinalists chosen from 140 applicants nationwide.

Eligible applicants had to be either a first-, second- or third-year full-time culinary student enrolled in a degree-granting culinary program at a university or college, or an apprentice in an American Culinary Federation Education Foundation apprenticeship program; an ACF member; and at least 18 years old. Entrants submitted a signed letter of endorsement from their dean or department chair, as well as a 500-word essay describing why they aspire to be a culinary leader and how working with Ty at the 2013 ACF National Convention would help them reach their goal.

American Meat Institute Foundation Releases Updated Edition of Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide

The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) on July 24 released an updated version of the AMI Foundation Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide:  A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare, July 2013 Edition.

AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee collaborates regularly with guideline author Temple Grandin, PhD, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, to determine what changes and clarifications are needed based upon real-world use. The audit underwent a major overhaul in 2010 when a transportation audit was added. The audit was fine-tuned in the August 2012 edition and fine-tuned even further in the July 2013 edition.

In the latest edition, users will note a number of changes that are detailed on page four of the new document:

  • A clarification has been added that farrowing on trucks should be counted just as calving and lambing are.
  • A new category called “ambulatory disabled animals” has been added to Core Criteria Six of the Transportation audit to track animals that can still walk and are not severely injured, but appear lame and have some impairment of movement.
  • Under Core Criteria 2 of the Sheep Transportation Audit, an omission of “compartments gated” was corrected.

The new edition has received an updated certification from the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). The guidelines were the first and remain the only association-authored animal welfare guidelines certified by PAACO.

“We are proud of our guidelines’ long history in encouraging continuous improvement in animal handling and welfare in meat-packing plants and of our continuing effort to make this a living, breathing document that is improved and refined based upon new knowledge and real-world experience,” says AMI Animal Welfare Committee chairman Rob Elder, PhD, director of HACCP, Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance at Seaboard Foods. 

To access the new guidelines, visit www.AnimalHandling.org.

Career Education Honors Chef Austin Yancey with Educator of the Year Award

At its 13th-annual Educator of the Year Awards, Career Education Corporation (CEC) (NASDAQ: CECO) honored some of the finest instructors among its more than 6,000 faculty members nationwide for their dedication to student success.

Faculty, staff, students and administration submitted more than 600 nominations for Educator of the Year.  A group of 30 internal reviewers then assessed more than 200 nominee applications. Winners were selected in each of four categories: Academic Leadership, Community Service, Instruction and Student Success.

“We take great pride in our ability to enhance our students’ lives through education, and the quality of our faculty plays a significant role in that effort,” says Scott Steffey, president and chief executive officer of Career Education. “The instructors we’ve honored with the Educator of the Year award are an inspiration—true examples of the power an excellent teacher with passion, knowledge and real-world experience can have on a student.”

Austin Yancey, CEC, of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago, earned Educator of the Year in the Academic Leadership category. Yancey has taken his love of cooking from his grandmother’s kitchen to the heights of Alinea, one of the finest restaurants in the world, located in Chicago. There he experienced the pressures of working under a world-renowned chef with exacting standards.  He later returned to Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago—where he received his formal culinary training—to help educate future culinary professionals.  But his work has gone far beyond his classroom duties.

Yancey organized the creation of the Le Cordon Bleu Chicago Competition Club in March 2010. Over the past three years, hundreds of students have participated in the club under Yancey’s instruction, and the competition team has earned many medals in culinary events while providing invaluable training to students.  Students wanting to work in fine dining receive practical experience under the type of pressure they would face in a top-tier restaurant, but in an environment where a mistake is just a learning experience.  His commitment to students in the club includes working with them for six hours or more every Saturday, in addition to his regular weekday class schedule.

Yancey holds an associate degree in applied science in culinary arts as well as a bachelor’s degree in culinary management, both from Le Cordon Bleu. He also holds the designation of Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation.

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