More than 40 students and professional chefs converged on the New Rochelle Campus to compete in the Greater New York Culinary Challenge (GNYCC) at the Culinary Arts Center. Besides medals awarded at this competition, there was another award at stake: The Dean’s Cup. This award, given by Dean Frank C. Costantino to the outstanding student culinarian, was on the line for ten of Monroe’s most accomplished young culinary competitors. The competition was an “iron chef” format which had the students preparing an entrée from a basket of ingredients. First year student Rossella Cangialosi, Barry Tech BOCES, won the inaugural Dean’s Cup with a silver medal for her Sautéed Chicken Breast with Mushroom Sauce. Runner-up to the cup, also a silver medal winner, Sade Aguila, 2011 America’s Best HS Chef from Food and Finance, recorded a milestone medal, earning the 400th competition medal won by Monroe Culinary since April 2009. Silver medals were also won by Enmely Soriano (Passaic County Tech), Kencito Vernon (Food and Finance), Yocary Luna, 2012 America’s Best HS Chef from Food and Finance, and Kimani Hines, Gateway School. Bronze medals in the Dean’s cup were won by Katherine Taveras, C-Cap Philly and captain of the 2013 Junior Culinary Team, along with her teammates, Carmen Albino, Port Richmond C-cap, and Laura Sanchez, Passaic County Tech. Lealy Irizarry, Truman HS, also earned a bronze medal.
Other Monroe Culinary students were vying for medals as well. Alberto Obando, LIC HS, earned his first individual student medal, a silver medal, for his trio of Cornish game hen. It was student gold medals for Jovita Palafox, Port Richmond C-cap student, whose Chocolate Banana cake was a favorite of the judges and Nashali Rivera, Food and Finance C-cap student, who impressed the judges with her Cornish hen dish. Nashali earned the highest score posted on the day. Brenda Lara, Port Richmond C-cap student earned her first professional gold medal in pastry for her tropical entremet with mango caramel glaze. Brenda registered higher scores in her category than the professional chefs who competed. Students were on hand from Lincoln Culinary Institute, Hartford CT, Le Cordon Bleu, Boston, MA, SUNY Schenectady and SUNY Delhi, as well as professional chefs from throughout the area. At the end of the day, Monroe Culinary notched 14 more competition medals, including the historic 400th. “I remember the first group we brought to Long Island in April 2009—17 kids, all winning medals and starting this wonderful tradition---so many competitions later and the students keep getting better and better!” reflected Dr. Costantino, Dean of the program. That concludes the 2012-2013 competition season for Monroe Culinary who will embark on the state championship run in a few short months…”the goal is always the same…we compete to win the state championship and get to the regionals which will be held in Rhode Island this year” said Costantino. The road to Rhode Island begins in September.