Two Lorain County Community College culinary arts students were awarded medals at the The American Culinary Federation’s 3rd annual competition on Oct. 25, at the Columbus Culinary Institute. The competition is for students from Ohio schools and universities including Cincinnati and Columbus.
Caitlin Doyle, a first year student at the LCCC culinary arts program competed in the Student Pastry category, scoring 74 points and receiving a bronze medal. Michael Castro competed in the Student Kitchen category, scoring 86 points and winning a silver medal.
“The entire experience was almost unreal,” Doyle said about the experience. “I have never done anything like this. This was my first competition and my first award for anything that I have won and I am very proud of my accomplishment.”
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the country’s largest professional association for chefs, cooks, culinary educators, and professionals in the foodservice industry. The ACF is dedicated to promoting the culinary profession and furthering members’ culinary expertise through education, certification and competitions.
“I did not have the opportunity to go to the JVS while in high school otherwise I probably would have participated in other events as well,” added Doyle.
For the competition, each student has 15 mins to set up, 1 hour to prepare every dish, 10 mins to plate, and 15 mins to clean their station. Some of the skills that the judges look for during the competition are the precision of knife cuts are and their accuracy, taste, color, technique, presentation, safety, cleanliness. All of these subjects are highly emphasized in the culinary arts department at LCCC by the faculty.
Before leaving for the competition Doyle and Castro were given time time in the LCCC classroom to practice their skills.
“I was thrilled and I was very proud of our students and the outcome of the competition. This is a great way to teach (students) organizational skills and timing,” Kristian Smith, a member of the culinary arts faculty at LCCC explained. “We hope what they learn in competition will carry over into the lab and eventually, their careers.”
After LCCC Doyle plans to transfer to another culinary arts department and travel the world to learn about different cultures and their dishes. Her ultimate goal is to own a bakery and eventually teach future culinary art students.
“I have very fond memories from when I was a kid of making cookies around Christmas with family and making biscuits with my grandmother a couple times,” added Doyle. “I have found that cooking is something that relaxes me in a sense. It keeps me level headed because nothing is perfect and there is always something that can happen like when you overcook something, it happens and now you know what not to do the next time.”
“This is the first award for anything that I have won and I am very proud of my accomplishment. I intend to do more competitions and will continue with my degree.”
“The chefs that work with me have all been wonderful I couldn’t have asked for better teachers. I want to continue to do well and make them proud.”
“Being one of the first two students to go to competition and also medal at that competition puts a lot of spotlight on me which I am not used to so I hope I can continue to hold that standard and be a great example for new and current students in the program.”