Earn Your College Degree — and a Few Competition Medals!

Some CINY students earn more than a degree at Monroe. They earn competition medals and the bragging rights that go along with them, too!

Our “Team CINY” competition team provides top culinary and baking/pastry students the chance to put their skills and creativity to the test in one-on-one and team competitions against other programs from around the region and country. Team CINY students routinely win medals and honors at these events, including “best in show.”  

To date, we’ve won more than 1,000 competition medals!

Each year, more than 40 competitors earn a spot on the Team CINY roster, with five talented individuals being selected as the Core Five.  These five students compete in the ACF Student Team National Championship Tournament every year. The ACF – the American Culinary Federation — is like the NCAA of collegiate culinary competitions. Teams from all over the country compete at the state and regional levels to earn a spot at nationals and, with it, the ultimate prize — the chance to be named national champions.  

Team CINY has won state championships in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and regional championships in 2016, 2018 and 2019.  Unfortunately, the pandemic sidelined all competitions in 2020. When the ACF resumed competitions in August of 2021, Team CINY was invited to the nationals and proudly came home with silver medals.

Team CINY is led by Dean Frank Costantino CEC CCE CCA AAC as coach and Chef Eric Pellizzari CEC CCE AAC, a CINY faculty member, as the team’s assistant coach. Dean Costantino has a coaching career that exudes student accomplishment, coaching students to nearly 3,000 competition medals in his 21-year career.  The Dean has personally won more than 60 ACF medals, and earned national and international championships as a competitor himself. Most recently, he was awarded the 2019 northeast regional chef of the year.  

We hear from many alumni of Team CINY — more than 400 students over the last decade –  that their time on the team helped them get ahead with their skills – and their careers – faster. Many have moved quickly through the ranks to sous chefs and chefs de cuisine less than two years after graduation!