November 30, 2015
Monroe College, a national leader in urban and international education, today announced that the student competition team from its Culinary Arts program successfully defended its title as New York State champions in an American Culinary Federation (ACF) competition held November 21.
The five-person team from Monroe, captained by junior Yudi Torres, successfully defended its state champion title against student teams from Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, SUNY Delhi and Schenectady County Community College, earning five gold medals and the top honors for the second consecutive year. Other team members were juniors Erika Hernandez, Dejanee Archbold, and Hipolito Torres, and freshman Nicholas Giambrone.
The ACF New York State Championship requires students to demonstrate proficiency in two key areas during two phases of the competition. In the first phase, a technical skills salon, students must exhibit mastery of butchery, fish filleting, knife cuts or pastry cream preparation. During the second phase, a 75-minute cooking competition, they must produce a four-course menu comprised of one classical course as well as a contemporary fish course, salad course, and dessert of their own signature concepts.
The Monroe team’s four-course menu included a main dish of pan-seared farmed striped bass with shrimp and scallop dumplings in a shellfish broth, a shaved fennel and arugula salad, a classical chicken entrée called Poulet Sauté Saint-Lambert, and a deconstructed carrot cake that incorporated the flavors and textures of poached pineapple, walnut nougatine semifreddo, cream cheese and white chocolate cremeux, and carrot coulis. Judging was presided over by ACF Northeast regional vice president Chef George O’Palenick, CEC, CCE, AAC, former instructor at Johnson & Wales University and member of the culinary team serving on the Admiral’s Staff while in the US Navy.
"The team is incredibly honored to receive the top honors again this year and to retain its state championship title," said Frank C. Costantino EdD CEC CCE AAC, Dean of Monroe College's School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts. "It was a very competitive event this year, with every one of the participating teams deserving high praise for their impressive dishes. Monroe's team has been working diligently the last five months to prepare for this prestigious competition, and we are heartened that the judges saw and tasted the culinary passion that these students put into every aspect of what they do."
Since 2009, Monroe’s culinary arts program has received nearly 600 awards, including the coveted Marc Sarrazin trophy at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in NYC in 2011 and 2013. Taught by a faculty of experienced industry professionals, many of whom are certified by the American Culinary Federation, students gain valuable instruction and mentoring in a real-world culinary environment.