The Apicius course titled “Culinary Competitions: Training and Practice” offered Spring 2018 students the unique opportunity to be trained by acclaimed professional chefs in order to compete at a national Italian culinary expo. Upon completing preparatory sessions through classes in Florence, students fulfilled the capstone experience of the course directly at the competition and brought home a gold medal thanks to the pastry team’s chocolate sculpture.

Through the overall experience, students had the opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and discover new trends in the industry. The course in Florence focused on food styling and plating techniques based on the international rating standards for culinary competitions. Special emphasis was placed on the importance of precision and details when approaching food presentation. Students learned to use special equipment and ingredients to produce high-quality creations. Prior to the event the students prepared intensively by creating recipes and trying different presentation methods.

The 2018 edition of the competition took place at the International Italian Culinary Expo and was organized by WACS and FIC. The event took place on February 19th in Rimini, Italy. It was dedicated to the restaurant industry and quality hospitality. Chefs from all regions of Italy and abroad competed. This year’s theme was linked to the world of Bio, Vegan and Gluten free cuisine.

This year the students from Apicius were the only students taking part in the competition amongst food professionals. Participating students previously attended or are currently attending Apicius and were specifically nominated by faculty members to come back to Florence for the competition. The main focus of this competition was the concept and beauty of the food that they produced. They were judged on the aesthetics of the plates as well as the concept of the menu they created. For this competition the students had to learn how to plate for a specific audience. A former WACS judge spoke with the students and provided advice for the competition. The preparation for the dishes took place here in Florence and was then transported to the competition. In order to preserve the presentation of the food, it was coated in a gelatin except for the one dish of pralines which the judges tasted. The designated teams prepared non-stop in order to produce the competition-ready entries, and departed at 4pm on Monday, February 14th for the Rimini location.

During prep sessions, students encountered and experimented with various preparation techniques that also opened their eyes to perspectives such as the main differences found in flour options and sugar use in Italy. They appreciated the cutting-edge practices that faculty introduced during the course, as well as the overall support from faculty throughout the entire process of prepping and competing.

The team members of the 2018 culinary competition team included:
Emily Ann Carroll, Filippo Corsi, Sierra Erickson, Yi Kuan Lin, Morgan Nash, Marco Pati, Anna Rinieri, Uzair Thobani, Ethan Zuk.

Supervising chef faculty:
Massimo Bocus, Cristian Casini, Simone De Castro, Simone Laniro, Lorenzo Mannucci, Pietro Di Marco, Andrea Trapani.
Special thanks to Brad Hindsley, chef faculty member from Robert Morris University, for his participation and supervision.

 

apicius competition gold medal large

 apicius competition chocolate sculpture

Photos: gold medal pastry team, top; chocolate sculpture, bottom.

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