Hills resident on top culinary competition team

Farmington Hills resident Eddie Jackson is part of a Baker College of Muskegon Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) team that took the top spot in the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Michigan State Hot Food Competition, recently held in Farmington Hills recently.

The CIM team will next compete in the ACF Central Regional Culinary Salon Competition, held March 11-13 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Baker College state championship team will compete at the ACF Central Regional Culinary Salon Competition in St. Louis, Missouri, March 11-13. From left are Baker College CIM Muskegon team advisor Chef Christopher Sowa; student chefs Gjeka “Jake” Juncaj, of Utica, team captain Mike Kenat, of Holland, Alejandro Guzman, of Waukegan, Illinois, and Diamantae Evans, of Saginaw; team advisor Chef Cory Barrett; and student chef Eddie Jackson, of Farmington Hills.
From left are Baker College CIM Muskegon team advisor Chef Christopher Sowa; student chefs Gjeka “Jake” Juncaj, of Utica, team captain Mike Kenat, of Holland, Alejandro Guzman, of Waukegan, Illinois, and Diamantae Evans, of Saginaw; team advisor Chef Cory Barrett; and student chef Eddie Jackson, of Farmington Hills. (Contributed photo)

Other winning CIM team members are team captain Mike Kenat, of Holland; Alejandro Guzman, of Waukegan, Illinois; Diamantae Evans, of Saginaw; and Gjeka “Jake” Juncaj, of Utica. Kenat and Guzman are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in food and beverage management; Evans, Jackson and Juncaj are earning associate degrees in culinary arts.

The CIM team competed against a team from host Oakland Community College’s Culinary Studies Institute in two phases: skills salon and menu. During the skills salon, team members drew one of four skills to demonstrate in a relay-style format. Skills included the butchery of a whole chicken, filleting a fish of their choice, a variety of knife cuts, and for the pastry skill segment, they made a quart of pastry cream; zested and segmented an orange; and prepared a short dough tart crust for blind baking.

During the menu phase, the teams produced four servings of a four-course menu. Each team and its coaches determined the fish starter, salad and dessert courses. The main course was Poulet Sauté Saint-Lambert, pan-roasted chicken with celery root puree and potato soufflé.

The winning CIM team’s chosen courses were brioche-crusted striped bass with watercress puree and celery farci; salad of beets and citrus with bacon vinaigrette and blue cheese tartlet; and dessert of warm apple cake with vanilla semifreddo and cider caramel.

“Each of these important competitions help our student chefs advance their knowledge, skill and sophistication, just like first-string athletes,” said Bruce Konowalow, CCE, CIM Muskegon dean of culinary arts. “Students practice for months in segments of at least four hours to develop knife skills, refine their professional demeanor, and improve their culinary abilities. This enables them to compete graciously with their peers who have worked equally hard to hone their skills and become ready to excel in their profession.”

 

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