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Iron Student Chef Winners Announced

April 26, 2011

Twenty-four culinary students gathered in Careme’s gourmet restaurant on the campus of Atlantic Cape Community College to get their cooking orders on April 25. 

At 9 a.m. sharp, it was time to start the Iron Student Chef competition sponsored by the Culinary Student Association at Atlantic Cape’s Academy of Culinary Arts. The students were organized into four teams of four. Their mission: to create four dishes, each incorporating a tightly guarded secret ingredient revealed only minutes before the start of cooking. The teams were given 15 minutes to create recipes and 90 minutes to cook. 

The secret ingredient to be included in each team’s four dishes, from appetizers to entrees to desserts: plantains. The teams were given plantains and a variety of other ingredients and told to produce two plates for each dish, one for display, and the other for judging.

The first place trophy-winning team included: Phillip Carollo of Barnegat, Cindy Cassidy of Marmora, Jennifer Keeper of Margate and Shawn Zenszer of Mount Laurel. 

The second place team, silver medal winners: Nikki DiCicco of Moorestown, Veronica Harwood of Villas, Tiffany Seaman of Bayville and Steven Zaccaro of Lanoka Harbor.

The bronze medal third place team: Diego Amaya of Egg Harbor Township, William Hurst of Egg Harbor Township, Mark Mancini of Glassboro and Rene Ramos of Egg Harbor Township.

The winning team prepared a Sushi Duo, Plantain Gnocchi, Plantain-Encrusted Salmon and Plantain Fritters with Cinnamon Ice Cream. Guest judges were Chef Jason Hippen, owner/executive chef, Jays on Third in Stone Harbor, Chef Luke Palladino, owner/executive chef, Luke Palladino’s Seasonal Italian Cooking in Northfield and Chef Michael Williams, executive chef, Izakaya at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.

The Academy hosts the Iron Student Chef competition each spring. For more information on the Academy of Culinary Arts, call (800) 645-CHEF or visit