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Chef Michael Stamets showing bronze medal to students in Culinary Arts uniforms in Culinary labChef Michael Stamets, CEC, Assistant Professor in the School of Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism at SUNY Schenectady, can now call himself an Olympian. Chef Stamets was a member of the prestigious New York Culinary Team that earned a bronze medal at the IKA Culinary Olympics which took place earlier this month (Feb. 14 to 19) in Stuttgart, Germany.

The team, comprised of award-winning chefs from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, earned the bronze medal edging out teams from around the world. During the competition, Chef Stamets prepared a buffet platter for eight based on classical garde manger techniques that he teaches at the College. He was assisted by John Gregg, a 2019 Culinary Arts graduate. 

Though chefs on the team were hoping for gold, Chef Stamets said he was proud of their accomplishments during the international competition. For him, the experience was important in terms of what it has allowed him to bring back to his students. “It was a fantastic experience and one that my students will benefit from as well,” he said. “My students know about the rigorous practice that went into this and the attention to detail and commitment to technique that is required to compete at this level. I want them to aspire to do the same thing one day.” It is that kind of student-focused attitude that has contributed to the success of SUNY Schenectady students and alumni including John Gregg.

During the competition, Stamets, who is the Coach of the College’s Hot Food Competition Team, connected with chefs from around the world, including Singapore and Hong Kong, discussing the differences between competitions in the United States and competing internationally.


Dr. David Brough, Dean of the School of Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism, noted that the international competition was an invaluable opportunity for Stamets, the academic division, and students. “The whole division is extremely proud of Chef Stamets,” Dr.  Brough said. “It was a fantastic opportunity for him to participate in an international event. He deserves a lot of credit for his ability as a chef, but he is also always thinking about the students and how he can share these experiences with them.”

Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady, said that by participating in the international competition, Stamets has helped to raise the profile of the Culinary Arts programs and the College. “Chef Stamets has set an excellent example for colleagues and students alike,” Dr. Moono said. “He is further promoting the fact that our faculty are experts in their fields and by competing in the IKA Culinary Olympics, he has put our Culinary Arts program on the world stage.”

Chef Stamets is shown with Culinary Arts students Tony Lirosi, Janine James, Josie Thomas, Joseph Vice, and Samantha Mayo.