Competing for success at Skidmore

Ten teams went head to head in a market basket competition.

Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., hosted an American Culinary Federation (ACF) sanctioned competition in January. Eight colleges were among the 10, four-person teams that composed dishes from 16 market basket items chosen by the competition’s lead judge. The teams were required to prepare four platings of a four-course menu consisting of an appetizer or salad, soup or dessert and entrée, in addition to one buffet platter. The competition offers “great camaraderie for any college or business that comes,” says Mark Miller, Skidmore’s director of dining services.

Three teams took home gold ACF medals granted by an ACF Certified Master Chef at the end of the three-day event:

  • The Country Club of Chestnut Hills, in Massachusetts, took first place with a menu that included a pork belly with Bosc pears and nero di Toscana kale appetizer, and a buffet dish of monkfish, amaranth griddle cake and poached potato with Alaskan king crab;
  • Skidmore College received the second gold medal, scoring with their menu of a salad of celery root, fennel and blood orange vinaigrette, and an entrée of sweet potato ginger purée, sautéed trumpet mushrooms, braised nero di Toscana kale, poached egg and brown butter emulsion; and
  • Cornell University took the third gold medal with an appetizer of medallion of monkfish, mushroom amaranth risotto and tomato relish and a dessert of sweet crêpes layered with blood orange-infused pastry cream and strawberries, Italian meringue, fruit compote and blood orange supreme.

In addition to the culinary competition, the event included a garde manger and ice carving demonstration by Tony DeStratis of The Lake George Club, in Lake George, N.Y., and a smoked duck sausage demo by Skidmore’s Executive Chef Jim Rose.

The competition “pumps up staff. There’s more to college dining than 10 or 15 years ago,” Miller says. “It’s a completely different environment now. [Students are] eating with their eyes. [The competition] gives us the opportunity to try different foods and it’s good for employee morale.” 

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