Skidmore Gets Gold For Fifth Straight Year
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Skidmore College culinary team earned its fifth consecutive gold medal for culinary excellence in the Seventh Annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) sanctioned competition held Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, on the Skidmore Campus.
“We are extremely proud of our gold medal, and it is our pleasure to host this unique event each year to highlight Skidmore College, our facilities and the culinary talent of our staff. We were pleased that all teams and judges were impressed with the quality of our food, the friendliness of our staff and the overall content of the event,” said Mark Miller, Skidmore’s director of dining services.
The “Chopped”-like competition challenges four-person teams to create unique and delicious recipes using identical baskets of ingredients and a shared table of staples and spices. Facing tight time limits, and without the use of broilers or fryers, each team is challenged to produce a salad or appetizer, a soup or dessert, an entree, and also a buffet platter. The dishes must be stylish but practical, nutritionally balanced, with complementary flavors and textures and good eye appeal.
Cuisine Gallery and other photos by Cathy Duffy
Skidmore’s culinary team, including chefs Joe Greco, Bryan Bidwell, Donovan Preston and Paul Karlson, prepared the winning four-course meal:
o Appetizer: poached flounder with herb mousseline appetizer featuring a crispy buttermilk fried avocado, pineapple-napa slaw with toasted hazelnut crunch in a citrus butter sauce
o Entrée: blood orange glazed Maple Leaf Farms duck breast with Yukon Gold potato and braised duck thigh meat croquette, sautéed broccoli rabe with wild mushrooms, pan roasted purple cauliflower and blood orange reduction sauce
o Dessert: citrus pound cake with soft chocolate semi-sphere hazelnut tuile with caramelized pineapple
o Buffet: pork loin stuffed with BBQ jackfruit featuring a warm kamut salad with tropical fruits and sautéed spaghetti squash
Eleven colleges and universities from throughout the northeast participated in the ACF-sanctioned competition which awards gold, silver and bronze medals based on a point system.
Skidmore led the competition earning the highest total points for a gold medal, followed by Cornell University which also earned gold.
The University at Albany, Ithaca College, University of Rochester, University at Buffalo, SUNY-Geneseo and SUNY-Cobleskill each earned silver medals.
SUNY-Cortland, Williams College and the University of Connecticut took home bronze medals.
The judging panel consisted of two certified master chefs, including the Capital Region’s own Dale Miller as lead judge; head judge Fritz Sonnenschmidt; certified executive chefs Michael
Morgan, James G. Rhoads III, Walter S. Zuromski and Michael Stamets, and apprentice judge Alain V. DeCoster. Judges critique originality, taste and presentation, and they award or deduct points for timing, teamwork, utilization of food, skills, sanitation and overall preparation.
The annual conference and competition is organized by Skidmore’s Dining Services to provide ongoing staff development and keep raising the standards of culinary excellence on campus, and to highlight Skidmore’s extraordinary dining program.
“The annual competition allows our staff an opportunity to enhance their knowledge, while also expanding their practical culinary skills,” said Mark Miller. “The conference provides seminars, demonstrations, tastings and networking opportunities for all participants. It’s important that our staff are actively learning and testing new recipes that can eventually be incorporated into Skidmore’s menus.”
Skidmore’s food service regularly achieves high rankings nationally, including being named Best College Food in 2017— second only to the Culinary Institute of America—by Niche.com. The ranking is based on meal plan costs and Skidmore’s student reviews.