Alamance Community College’s Student Culinary Hot Foods Team earned honors as the best culinary program in the southeastern United States after taking the top prize at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Student Hot Food Regional Competition in Charlotte Feb. 23-25.
Next stop: the National Finals in New Orleans, Louisiana. That competition will be held July 15-19 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana during the annual ACF convention. It will pit ACC’s five student-chefs against winning teams from the Northeast, Central and Western Regions of the United States.
ACC’s team competed for the first time in the national finals in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016, coming home with a silver medal.
ACC won in a timed cooking competition, in which points were tallied by professional culinary judges based on team work, preparation and presentations of an appetizer, salad, entree and classical dessert.
“This year’s team has worked extremely hard to achieve the chance to compete for the National title,” said Chef-Department Head Brian Bailey. “All of the team members are full-time students, have full or part-time jobs and most have family obligations. The amount of dedication and practice that goes into this is unparalleled. This is a special group of students that all get along and have a family-like relationship. They all look out for each other. I am very proud of this group and they have represented the college in an extremely professional manner.”
The ACC team had practiced extensively since early fall for the North Carolina competition in December, which they won for the second time in three years sending them to the Southeast Regionals. Bailey said the students often spent 10-12 hours practicing in recent weeks in preparation.
ACC’s Hot Foods Team is comprised of Maria Limon-Cruz, Larry Winstead, Ian Macklin, Maribeth McCook, and Trever Slosek.
“A great deal of time, effort and practice went into winning both the state and regional competitions once again, and Chefs Brian Bailey and Todd Wanless and their students are to be commended for so generously giving their time and making us proud,” commented ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood. “For the second time in three years, a brilliantly dedicated and passionate team from Alamance Community College won top honors, and we look forward to our students competing for the national title this summer. They will be well prepared for jobs in the nation’s hospitality industry.”
Student participation in the ACF competition is supported by the H. Joseph Schoeneck Memorial Endowment. Funds provided assist students with fees, uniforms, travel expenses and other related costs. This scholarship was established in memory of Joe Schoeneck, husband of ACC Early Childhood Education instructor Rebecca Schoeneck. Joe Schoeneck was director of food services at Moses Cone Hospital and was a member of the International Food Service Executives Association, and a culinary advisory board member at Alamance Community College.