Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CIA instructor tapped for World Chocolate Masters U.S. selections

Stephen Durfee, pastry chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., is one of seven of the country's leading pastry chefs and chocolatiers selected to compete in the U.S. selections for the 2011 World Chocolate Masters event in Paris. The competition, organized by Barry Callebaut, will take place Sept. 27 and 28 during the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas. The contestants will make Aztec-inspired sculptures out of gourmet chocolate.

The winner of the U.S. selections competition will advance to the 2011 World Chocolate Masters, where he or she will compete against culinary artisans from approximately 20 other countries. (Pictured, right, Lionel Clement, former chef chocolatier at the Wynn Las Vegas, was the last U.S. National Chocolate Master.)

The other six pastry chefs joining Durfee in this year's U.S. selections competition are:

CIA grad Brandt wins Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge

Maureen "Molly" Brandt, Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate, won the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge and a one-year paid contract to be the chef de cuisine of 150 Central Park onboard the Allure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Maureen "Molly" Brandt plates her dishes during the final challenge

Brandt was one of six chefs--all CIA graduates--to be a finalist in the challenge, a contest open exclusively to The CIA's alumni network. The six chefs participated in a two-part final challenge at the college's Hyde Park campus in New York on Aug. 5 and 6, where they prepared a three-course meal for a panel of judges from Royal Caribbean and The CIA. The panel also interviewed the finalists.

(l to r) Frank Weber, vice president, food and beverage operations, Royal Caribbean International; Maureen "Molly" Brandt; Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, hotel operations, Royal Caribbean International; and Ron DeSantis, director, CIA consulting, The CIA

Brandt's winning dish consisted of chilled lobster with fennel, carrots, citrus, caviar and tempura battered lobster; Provencal lamb loin with Dijon potato purée, ratatouille, pattypan squash and olive tapenade; and pistachio cake with whipped rosewater crème fraîche and carbonated raspberries.

For more information, visit