SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Skidmore College culinary team recently took their annual shot in a yearly culinary competition held by the American Culinary Federation; and for the seventh year running, they took home the gold.
The competition, organized by Skidmore’s Dining Services department, brings nine teams together from New York and Massachusetts and gives each the challenge of creating a four-course meal, all with the same list of essential ingredients.
“Skidmore’s Dining team has made sure they got this competition perfect from day one. They do their research and are committed to improving every year,” said executive chef James G. Rhoads III, one of the judges at this year’s competition. “Skidmore is at the top of the curve in terms of promoting sustainability, utilizing local products and listening to student needs and ideas.”
The list of ingredients was kept a secret until the day before the competition began. Each team was given 15 minutes to plan, followed by 2 hours and 15 minutes to cook and serve their four-course meals.
The list of required ingredients included Cornish game hens, lobster, vegan pepperoni, pork tenderloin, Napa cabbage, oyster mushrooms, kale, artichokes, Peruvian sweet potatoes, couscous, red quinoa, blood oranges, pomegranates, dried apricots, persimmons, hazelnuts and blue cheese.
The Skidmore team used those ingredients to create a complete menu:
- Appetizer: Wine-poached Maine lobster salad; citrus-marinated artichokes, Napa slaw with blood oranges and shaved fennel; and a couscous and blood orange vinaigrette.
- Entrée: Pan-roasted roulade of Cornish game hen stuffed with kale and apricots; Peruvian yam and Ballston blue cheese galette; and sautéed oyster mushrooms with a pomegranate reduction sauce.
- Dessert: Hazelnut financier; citrus pastry cream, blood orange pomegranate curd and macerated persimmon salad.
- Buffet: Spice-rubbed pork tenderloin; quinoa and potato hash featuring vegan pepperoni, Napa cabbage stir-fry and a blue cheese butter sauce.
The gold medal-winning Skidmore team included chefs Joe Greco, Ron Wall, Shelly Carpenter and Aaron Buff. Also taking home gold medals were teams from Bonnie Briar Country Club and Cornell University.
SUNY Albany and SUNY Geneseo earned silver medals, and Williams College, Tufts University, St. Lawrence University and SUNY Cobleskill got bronze.
A panel of professional chefs judged the dishes on several criteria, including originality, taste, presentation, timing, teamwork, skill and sanitation.
“This competition offers a unique opportunity for professional development through a fun, but challenging event. Everyone is here to learn and work together,” said Mark Miller, director of Dining Services at Skidmore. “Just being a part of the action builds morale and a deep sense of pride among our staff.”