Culinary students from around the world visited Kendall’s School of Culinary Arts to prepare locally inspired dishes from their native countries in an international culinary competition on January 27 – 28. Teams from schools in seven countries and the Laureate International Universities Culinary Network joined Kendall College in this two-day competition.
Participating schools and countries included: Universidade Potiguar in Brazil; Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, Heredia; Universidad de Las Américas in Ecuador; Universidad del Valle de México (two teams); Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in Jordan; Universidad Interamericana de Panama; and Kendall College in the United States.
National competitions were conducted at the various campuses throughout the past three months to determine the teams that would participate in the international culinary competition. On Friday, the finalists had three hours to prepare for their high-end four-course meal for the following day. On Saturday, each team had an additional 2 ½ hours to finish their dishes and 30 minutes to serve all four courses to the judges.
Chef Steve Jilleba, CMC, CCE, AAC, corporate executive chef for Unilever Foodsolutions North America and manager of Team USA in the Culinary Olympics, led the panel of judges. A competition veteran, Jilleba has garnered dozens of awards, including a handful from the American Culinary Federation and an impressive nine gold medals from various International Culinary Olympic competitions. The panel of judges also included Stephen J. Miller, CMC, vice president and chief operating officer for Midway Airport Concessionaires and a World Association of Chefs (WACS) approved judge; Chef Leo Waldmeier, retired executive chef of The Drake Hotel in Chicago; and Chef Carlos Gaytan, owner of Mexique in Chicago.
It was a very close competition with less than 1½ points separating first and third place. The winning team was Valeria Cota and Marcela Ramirez from Universidad del Valle de Mexico, who returned home with The Laureate Culinary Cup and gold medals. Their dishes included a Tarasca soup with shrimp and a main course of duck with a traditional manchamanteles, which is a typical mole from Oaxaca and Puebla in Mexico. The Kendall College team of Alison Honiotes and Adam Harralson came in second with their entries that included a trio of raw oysters appetizer and a pheasant saltimbocca main course. Third place went to the team of Mohamad Irshied and Khaled Haddad from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in Jordan.
See pictures from the international culinary competition here.