COD Culinary Students Win Silver Medal at American Culinary Federation State Competition

culinary competition

By Angela Menncke

Five College of DuPage Culinary students took second place and earned a silver medal during the recent American Culinary Federation’s Illinois State Competition held at COD’s Culinary & Hospitality Center. View photos from the competition.

Team captain Emilie Melendez (Hanover Park) was joined by Abigail Rhea (Elmhurst), Matt Janiszewski (Lombard), Justin Pantaleon (Bloomingdale) and Jonathan Mosquera (Wheeling). Alex D’Amico (Hinsdale) and Mark Jenkins (Villa Park) are a part of the culinary competition team but did not compete.

“The students gave a valiant effort, losing by only two points to Joliet Junior College,” said COD Culinary Arts Professor Michael Maddox. “It came down to minute details in cooking execution and knife skills. As a team competitor, students demonstrate dedication and experience in the culinary industry making participation, regardless of the outcome, an instant resume builder.”

The competition included a skills salon, during which students are evaluated on skills such as butchery, filleting and knife cuts, followed by a cooking competition consisting of a four-course menu including one classical course assigned by the ACF and three dishes chosen by the team. Teams had 90 minutes to make everything from scratch, with the first course being presented before the 70-minute mark.

Working with Maddox and COD Culinary Arts Professor David Kramer, the team of seven began training twice a week starting in late August.

“Students practiced for several hours every week on Fridays and then went to three times a week as the competition came closer,” Maddox said. “We had a lot of new team members this year who were learning the entire process and techniques. With one competition under our belt, the team and I are looking forward to more competitions in 2019.”

Learn more about the Culinary Arts program.

Photo caption: COD Culinary student Jonathan Mosquera explains his dishes to the American Culinary Federation judges during the cooking portion of the competition. (Press Photography Network/Special to College of DuPage)