Calie Nelson, a student at Baker College of Port Huron Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM), has won the Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association (MCCA) 2015 Student Chef of the Year Championship. This is the second consecutive year that a CIM Port Huron student has been named MCCA Student Chef of the Year.
Nelson earned the title by competing against eight students from other collegiate culinary programs in Southeastern Michigan. Each competitor had 60 minutes to prepare two portions of a signature chicken dish and 10 minutes to plate it while following strict American Culinary Federation (ACF) guidelines.
“Calie is one of the most talented and finest young chefs I have worked with. She excels in her studies and displays the most important trait of a culinarian, exemplary citizenship. She also mentors and guides other students in doing the same,” said Thomas F. Recinella, CEC®, ACE, AAC®, HGT, program director and COURSES Restaurant executive chef at CIM Port Huron.
Nelson’s winning dish featured three variations on chicken titled "A Summer Trio of Chicken.” The competitors were judged on technique, sanitation, organization, timing and utilization of food, and the flavor of the food.
Looking back on the achievement, Nelson said, “It was a truly amazing experience and great deal of hard work. At first, I questioned if I could do it. To know that I won the cook off against all the other talented young chefs has been a humbling experience.”
Nelson is a second-year student and expects to complete an associate degree in culinary arts June 2016. During her last term, she plans to complete an externship in Ireland, and after graduation, the Marmaduke, Arkansas native hopes to move to New Orleans to work in fine dining.
PHOTO CAPTION: 2015 Student Chef of the Year Championship chef Calie Nelson of Baker College of Port Huron Culinary Institute of Michigan. Photo credit The Times Herald.