For many long weeknights and Saturdays since September, the College’s Hot Food Team members practiced their skills in the Culinary Arts labs on campus, preparing for the American Culinary Federation New York State Hot Food Team Competition held earlier this month at Monroe College in New Rochelle, N.Y.
They represented the College well, earning a Silver Medal, as they showcased their ability to handle the heat under intense pressure, competing against teams from SUNY Delhi and the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College.
Front row - Jessica Diskin, Dana Muzzy, Yolanda Ramirez. Back row - Justin Seigel and Sebastian Marro (Team Captain).
The five-member student team had to create a four-course meal in 90 minutes or less. For months before the competition, they practiced preparing their dishes: potato crusted striped bass with scallop and fine herb; frisee, baby kale and micro celery salad with sherry vinaigrette; pan roasted lamb loin with braised lamb “short rib;” and oeufs à la neige, or snow eggs, a classic French dessert of small poached meringues floating in a custard sauce. (Each team knows what they will be preparing and brings their ingredients with them.)
Yolanda Ramirez, Culinary Arts major, said that being on the team meant that she gained even more skills during team practice sessions. “It was all a very positive experience,” she said. “It’s intense and you’re learning as you practice.” Her teammate Jessica Diskin, also a Culinary Arts major, had laser focus during the event. “Before the competition, you have nerves, but then as soon as it starts, you are in the mindset that nothing else matters and it seems like it’s seconds and then it’s over,” she said. She added that being on the team was a boost in and of itself. “It’s really helped build my confidence up a lot because you don’t want to let the team down.”
Chef Tom Alicandro and Chef Michael Stamets, both Assistant Professors in the School of Hotel, Culinary Arts, and Tourism, were the team’s coach and manager respectively.
Next up is the 10th Annual SUNY SCCC Spring Culinary Classic in April, an individual student competition.