Monroe Pastry Students Burst onto the scene at the US Junior Pastry Championship!
On Monday, March 4, three Monroe College students competed in the inaugural Junior US Pastry Championship during the International Restaurant and Foodservice show at the Jacob Javits convention center. BBA Hospitality Management graduate and Monroe MBA student Shamel Donigan, Jamaica, NY, BBA Hospitality students, Katrina Vasquez, Bronx, NY and Maria Wu, Flushing, NY were all selected as finalists to square off for the title Junior US Pastry Chef.
Katrina Vasquez finished third and Maria Wu finished second place in the field of ten students selected to compete. Each student had to produce a plated dessert, a confectionary showpiece with chocolate and sugar and one variety of petit four. All three students did an outstanding job and earned high marks from the judges. All of the students in the competition were all coached by top pastry chefs in the country, including our own Chef Ebow Dadzie, the 2008 US Pastry Chef of the year, and Chef Gerard Molloy, who has a wealth of national and international competition experience.
Students from the Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts were coached by world-renowned sugar and chocolate expert, Susan Notter, and the winning entry was coached by Chef Anthony Smith, last year’s US Pastry Chef. “It was an incredible experience and journey to get to this point, the three of us worked so hard and had little time between competing in and winning the gold medal at the Salon of Culinary Arts in November” said Maria Wu, BBA Hospitality student and AAS Baking and Pastry graduate. All of the students have incredibly high GPA’s led by Maria’s 3.96 and Katrina’s 3.90. “It really was a joy to watch these students compete for Monroe College, and I was equally impressed with their assistants,” said Dean Costantino, speaking about Jennifer Rivera, Queens, NY, Glen Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA, and Brittane Hughes from Maryland, who assisted the Monroe student competitors.
“It was wonderful watching these students maintaining their composure in a pressure-filled public venue and no surprise since they are all outstanding students and young culinarians,” said Chef Tracy Zimmermann, Chairperson for Culinary, Baking, and Pastry. Overall, it was an impressive showing and it positioned the Monroe College Baking and Pastry program among the top programs in the region.
Congratulations to all involved!