Monday, March 16, 2009

CCI student named 2009 Almost Famous Chef

Connecticut Culinary Institute (CCI) student David Awad, from took first place overall in the seventh annual S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition held March 8 at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (CIA) in Napa Valley, Calif.

Awad competed against nine other student chefs from the United States and Canada over three days. His Pan-Seared Lamb Loin with a Red Wine Honey and Mint Glaze won him the $10,000 cash grand prize, a $1,000 scholarship for his alma mater and a year-long opportunity to work with a nationally recognized chef.

(from l to r) chef Ralph Pagano, co-host and chef/owner of; David Awad, 2009 Almost Famous Chef winner; Kristianne Pak, 2008 Almost Famous Chef winner; Kendra Orng, Signature Dish winner; Joe Branton, People's Choice winner; and Harold Dieterle, co-host and chef/owner of Perilla Restaurant in New York City

The 10 finalists competed in three categories: the Mystery Basket, Signature Dish, and People’s Choice. Awad won the Mystery Basket competition, earning him an additional $3,000, which involved creating a plate with surprise ingredients: sturgeon, bacon, bay leaves, fingerling potatoes and asparagus. Kendra Orng from the International Culinary School at The Art Institute California-Los Angeles won the $3,000 Signature Dish prize for her Chipotle-Braised Pork, and Joe Branton from the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College won the $3,000 People’s Choice Award, with his signature dish, Pork Two Ways.

The Almost Famous Chef Competition was founded in 2002 as a mentoring program that connects top culinary students with established chefs and influential media. For more information, visit

No comments: