Annual Culinary Arts Showcase Turns up the Heat
Triangle Favorite Returns with Sizzling New Competition
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 2, 2014) - The Raleigh Convention Center sizzled this week – with Wake Tech’s Culinary Arts Showcase! The annual event took place on Monday, March 31, and Tuesday, April 1, bringing together culinary students, professional chefs, and food lovers of all kinds. Competitors from across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic put their skills to the test in one of the country’s largest American Culinary Federation (ACF)-sanctioned cooking and baking competitions. Watch a short video of the event here.
Monday’s individual Hot Foods Competition had students and professionals facing off in a format similar to the Food Network’s “Iron Chef.” Each had two hours to create either an entrée or dessert; points were awarded for creativity, presentation, and taste. The winners, Ted Polfelt, an executive chef from Roanoke, Virginia, and JoAnn Rey, a student at Wake Tech, took home gold medals.
ACF judges critiqued nearly 100 students and professionals who submitted cakes, pastries and cold food entries in the ACF Culinary Salon – and awarded five gold medals, 13 silver, and 36 bronze. The only student to score gold was Wake Tech’s Heather Therien, who won for her wedding cake, titled “Love is Like a Lovely Rose.”
Tuesday brought top Triangle chefs Ashley Christensen and Daniel Benjamin, among others, to the convention center to judge the creations of students in baking and pastry arts. Students were tasked with creating a business to sell their breads and pastries – planning menu items, baking, and designing signs and promotional materials (with the help of Wake Tech business administration students). “Baker’s Row” featured their creations, for sale to the public at the Tuesday evening Showcase. Megan Peters took first place for her enterprise, called “Black Mountain Chocolate.” Megan Campbell and Brittany Holley took home second and third place honors, respectively.
Meanwhile, students from across North Carolina and Georgia paired off to compete in the Hot Foods Cooking Challenge for teams. Each had two hours to create appetizers and entrees from a mystery basket of ingredients. The top five teams then competed live during the Culinary Arts Showcase. Their final mystery basket contained a challenging mix: rack of lamb, sea bass, basmati rice, parsnips, Swiss chard, oranges and pine nuts. Winning teams were Matthew Hosier and Shiona MacLean, from Vance Granville Community College; and Jessica Dedeaux and Michael Rehm, from Wake Tech. All received a cash prize, while the first place winners also took home a “Golden Whisk” trophy.
More than 2,000 people turned out for the 2014 Culinary Arts Showcase. They enjoyed the cooking challenge, ice carving, food demos, restaurant samples, and hands-on activities for children. Proceeds from the event benefit the Wake Tech Culinary Arts fund.
The Culinary Arts Showcase started in 1994 as an end-of-year project for students in Wake Tech’s associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts. http://culinaryartsshowcase.waketech.edu.