Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 FENI Educators Summit:
And the winners are...

The 11th Annual FENI Summit in Las Vegas Feb. 14 to 17 was the highest attended conference to date, featuring more than 40 different programs on effective motivation, culinary skills, leadership development and lesson planning. Below are the winners of the National Pork Board's Taste of Elegance competition, the Educators of the Year and the Poster Board Winners. Congratulations to all the winners!

For complete FENI Summit wrapup details, be sure to read the May 2009 edition of
Chef Educator Today.

(l to r) National Pork Board's Taste of Elegance first-place winner Stephen Marshall, executive chef, Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, Henderson, Nev.; third-place winner Zachary Hillberry, chef de cuisine, Caesars Palace Las Vegas; second-place winner Jose Martinez, executive chef, Les Artistes Steakhouse at the Paris Las Vegas; and FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau

(l to r) FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau and Educator of the Year-postsecondary winner Michael McGreal, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill.

(l to r) FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau and Educator of the Year-secondary winner Daniel Wagner, Greene County Career & Technology Center, Waynesburg, Pa.

(l to r) FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau and Best Poster Abstract winner Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE, The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, Chicago, for "TAAT: Taste, Analyze, Adjust, Taste"

(l to r) FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau and Best Poster Abstract winner Donald G. Schoffstall, MS, CSC, CHE, FMP, Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Pittsburgh, for "A Classroom Poster Session: Using and Effective Professional Conference Technique To Enhance Classroom Learning"

(l to r) FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau and People’s Choice Award for Best Poster Sherri Nordstrom-Stastny, PhD, LRD, Human Development and Education-Dietetics, North Dakota State University, for "'Meet the Parents' Curriculum Increases Learning in Meal Planning Lesson"

(Photos: D.F. von Rabenau)

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