Thursday, December 11, 2008

National Honey Board hosts "Iron Chef" competition for NECI students

On Nov. 19, 2008, New England Culinary Institute (NECI) students braved both winter snow and tough ground rules to compete in two National Honey Board-sponsored recipe competitions: (1) Savory Culinary Arts and (2) Baking and Pastry. In the former competition, students culinarians produced three courses from a market basket of seasonal ingredients under "Iron Chef" rules; in the latter, students worked from an original recipe.

As a reward for their honey research and menu creativity, the top three winning teams/individuals in both categories received cash prizes, including a $1,000 reward for the grand prize, from the the Honey Board. Chef Tom Bivins, NECI dean of Culinary Affairs, and Jami Yanoski, representing the National Honey Board, announced the winning students in each division. Here are the two grand prize winners:

Savory Culinary Arts
$1,000 Grand Prize: (pictured, l to r) Benjamin Dorr and Blair Johnson
Menu: Black pepper and rosemary honey-seared scallop with celeriac purée, oyster mushroom duxelles, honey lemon and carrot emulsion; honey and sage-infused fried cornish game hen and acorn squash, black pepper waffle, braised kale and chard, honey white wine and chestnut gravy; apple blossom honey-soaked semolina cake, honey citrus syrup-soaked solden raisin currants and Gran Marnier whipped cream

Baking and Pastry
$1,000 Grand Prize: Chee-Ling Francoise Ip
Item: Honey Trio—Papaya-honey chrysanthemum tea, honey caramelized persimmon puff pastry, honey-Earl Grey ice cream with honey-toasted almond brittle

For more information about the National Honey Board's culinary education programs and student recipe competitions, visit the Honey Board's Web site or contact Bruce Wolk at