On Saturday, May 14 Monroe College hosted the Greater New York Culinary Challenge for more than 40 student and professional competitors from the tri-state area in the Culinary Arts Center today. In their final competition until the fall semester, Monroe’s culinary program was stellar once again.
The award she won as America’s Best High School Chef in 2010 was only the beginning for Monroe sophomore Gabriela Grande, a CCAP scholar who is in the honors program and member of the JV Culinary Team as she earned an ACF professional gold medal for her P9 fish entrée. Gaby also earned top honors as Best in Show for the Professional Contemporary Salon for her score of 38.675 out of possible score of 40.
Monroe Culinary students earning ACF professional gold medals today included: Jessica Johnson (pastry),an academic honors sophomore, pastry chef of the JV Culinary Team, and America’s Best High School Pastry Chef 2010; Tihelia James (culinary), an academic honors sophomore, captain of the JV Culinary Team and CCAP scholar; and Shamel Donigan (pastry), a 2010 Dean’s List graduate of Baking & Pastry AAS and currently an academic honors Hospitality BBA student. Shari Sweeney (culinary),of Antigua, a 2010 Dean’s List graduate of Culinary AAS and a current Hospitality BBA student, and member of the Varsity Culinary Team, earned an ACFprofessional silver medal. Kareem Meade, of Antigua, a 2010 Dean’s List graduate of Culinary AAS and a current Hospitality BBA student, and member of the Varsity Culinary Team and Cuauhtemoc Cortez, 2010 Dean’s List graduate of Culinary AAS and a current Hospitality BBA student, competed in the cold food salon for the first time and both earned ACF student silver medals.
Returning to compete as a Monroe graduate and current employee of the New Rochelle Dining Room, Dennis Hyman earned a ACF student bronze medal in the SK chicken category.
Of very special mention, Chef Michael Vignapiano CCE AAC, adjunct faculty, won an ACF professional gold medal for his F category which consists of a 4-hour window of cooking, preparing 4 servings each of a menu including an appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert. Earning this medal is a major accomplishment and it qualifies him to be an approved ACF judge. Cuauhtemoc Cortez served as an apprentice to Chef Vignapiano today.
Chef Gerard Molloy CEPC, adjunct faculty, won an ACF professionalgold medal and Best in Show Professional Salon(cold food) for earning the highest total points in the Professional Salon for his wedding cake.
Chef Vincent Comito CEC CCA, Director of Campus Dining on the New Rochelle Campus and adjunct faculty earned an ACF professional silver medal for his K9 fish category.
Chef George Wong of Chopstix Restaurant in Brooklyn, a dear friend and supporter of Monroe College, took home two silver medals to add to his collection for his live action fruit and vegetable carvings.
Rosella Cangialosi, a junior from Long Island and the only high school competitor at this competition, earned a student silver medal in the SK chicken category. Dean Costantino CEC CCE AAC recognized her as an upcoming talent and presented her with a special gift from Mercer Tools to help aid in her future development in the kitchen. Rosella and her parents look forward to returning to Monroe in the spring, where she will compete for America’s Best High School Chef 2012.
On his first trip to Monroe College, Chef William Tillinghast CCE AAC, The ACF Northeast Region Vice President was glad to have made the trip from Pennsylvania to see the Culinary Arts Center. The students were honored to have Chef Tillinghast bestow their medals upon them at the end of each round of the competition. He commented on the facilities and the students in particular noting that they were fantastic and thought the competition was very well run. Chef Tillinghast noted that the student’s professional entries are among the best that he has seen throughout his travels to ACF competitions.
Dean Costantino was Showchair of the event and Chef Eric Pellizzari CAC CCE ACE served on the judging panel along with Chef Thomas Recinella CEC AAC and Chef Victor Sommo CSC of SUNY Delhi, and Chef Michael Morgan CEC AAC of Binghamton.