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Iron Student Chef Competition Names Winning Team

March 31, 2008

Eighteen eager culinary students gathered in Careme's gourmet restaurant on the campus of Atlantic Cape Community College to get their cooking orders on Monday (March 31) morning.

It was time to start the Iron Student Chef competition sponsored by the Culinary Student Association at ACCC's Academy of Culinary Arts. The students were organized into six teams of three. 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: garlic. The teams were given fresh garlic and a variety of other ingredients and told to produce two plates for each dish, one for display, the other for judging.

The first place trophy-winning team included Sara Hutchinson of Ocean City, Paige Puentes of Hammonton, and Carlie Worden of Sewell. They created five dishes, including Beef Napoleon with Garlic Boursin Cheese, Asian Lettuce Wraps with Garlic Ginger Chicken, Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Mango and Avocado Sauces, Chorizo and Clam Soup, and Shrimp and Pancetta Reginelle.

The second place team, silver medal winners: Juliano Cannuscio of Galloway, Randi Wallace of Cherry Hill, and Mike Bagarozza of Manahawkin.

The bronze medal third place team: Ryan Allenbach of Wildwood, Dave Dancheck of Magnolia, and Stuart McGowan of Beach Haven Park.

Also participating in the competition were: Matt Miller of Port Reading, Dave Watson of Cape May, Leslie Betterson of Vineland, Brad Borton of Mays Landing, Holly Bloodworth of Medford Lakes, Jessica Brophy of Ocean City, Robert Kuhns of Heislerville, Rachel Ferraro of Ocean City and William Wise of Green Creek.

The competition judges were Lisa Savage, '90 ACA and chef/owner of Sage in Ventnor, and Rolf Weithofer, executive chef and director of food service of Bally's Atlantic City. ACA Chef Educators Annmarie Chelius and Michael Huber, and Michael Inferrera, 07 ACA and 2007 Iron Student Chef Winner, judged kitchen sanitation and technique. Judges awarded up to 10 points each on flavor of the dish, knowledge of item, presentation, originality and sanitation. Teams lost 10 points for lateness and 10 points for unsatisfactory kitchen/lab clean-up.

The teams were all within fractions of points of each other, said Chef Educator Vincent Tedeschi, who organized the event.

The first-place team members said they spent one week devising potential recipes depending on what the secret ingredient might be and nine hours cooking together the day before the competition. "We spent all day in the kitchen yesterday getting ready," Worden said.