Monday, December 8, 2008

City Tech sweeps prizes at prestigious
culinary competition

A team of student culinary all-stars from New York City College of Technology (City Tech) blew away all competitors at the culinary salon of the annual International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show, held recently at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

When the dust—and the confectioner’s sugar—had settled, the City Tech team had taken the Marc Sarrazin Cup for the best overall entry at the show (team members pictured above with the Sarrazin Cup). Two faculty members (Louise Hoffman and Jean Claude) and one alumnus (Randolph Hernandez) had each won gold medals. Two other recent alumni were honored: Ebow Dadzie with the Gold Medal of the Association of Chefs de Cuisine et de Patisserie du Quebec and Anthony Smith with the International Chefs Association Gold Medal.

Culinary salons have been sponsored by the French Société Culinaire Philanthropique for 142 years and are a regular feature of the Jacob Javits Center show. Seeing City Tech atop the list of winners has become an increasingly regular aspect of the three-day event; its students have won the Sarrazin Cup—signifying best overall performance in the competition—in three of the last four years.

Victories of this sort do not come easily. Each fall, as the show approaches, one can find the student competitors, and the several faculty who mentor them, in City Tech’s culinary labs until late at night. Professor Louise Hoffman, who works most closely with the students creating pastry and confectionery entries, says of the process, “The Salon of Culinary Arts is a professional arena where our City Tech students can demonstrate their skills, probably the toughest ‘practical exam’ our students will ever take. They do magnificent work. I am amazed every year at the level of excellence that is created in my class. I am very proud of them.”

Photo: For her confectionery artistry in constructing “Timeless Kiss,” which recalls the famous photo of the nurse and the sailor kissing in Times Square in celebration of the end of World War II, 20-year-old Brooklynite Ashley Alioto won the competition's "Best in Show" title and received a $1,000 award. (Photo courtesy of NYCCT)