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Pierpont's Culinary Academy earns Bronze medal

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On Jan. 17, the Pierpont Culinary Academy competed against the international judging standards of the American Culinary Federation and earned Bronze medals in the American Culinary Federation West Virginia Hot Foods Competition.

Pierpont scored 31.52 points out of a possible 40 points. The score was just .48 points from a Silver Medal.

Practice starts next week for regionals. At the regional competition the team will still complete the Skills Relay and Four Course Menu, but will also add a Buffet Platter for eight people.

The team recently qualified to represent the West Virginia Chapter of the ACF.

Three certified ACF judges were on the Pierpont Locust Avenue Campus Jan. 17 to assess the team in a two-part competition. Chef Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC (Lead Judge) from Montgomery, Ala.; Chef Charles Vosburgh, CEC, AAC from Adairsville, Ga.; and Chef Francesco Abbinanti, CEC from Atlanta, Ga. judged the team on a 40 point scale that is used for the highest level of ACF culinary competitions.

The five Pierpont students that comprised the team were Pamela Stevens, Team Captain and nominee for 2013 ACFWV Student of the Year; Joseph Friend; Donald Griseto; William Prunty; and Sarah Johnson, Team Alternate. Members participated in an 80 minute culinary skills relay and a four course hot food competition.

For the skills portion, four of the team members completed four separate skills in an 80 minute relay format. The skills included: 1) Fabricate a chicken, 2) Fillet a fish, 3) Precision vegetable cuts, 4) Pastry competency, with the students drawing for which skill they would be asked to perform. Judges were looking for speed, accuracy and efficiency.

Next, the competitors had 75 minutes to prepare a four course meal. One of the courses, the fish course, was predetermined from a classic recipe. The other three courses were developed by the team and their coaches. Jay Mahoney, CEC and Allison McCue, CC, CPC.

"The skills event sets the tone for the day," said Chef Mahoney. "Each student is on their own to perform to the best of their abilities, but the hot food competition is where the team comes together as one."

During the four course preparation, four of the students help to prepare the four courses. The alternate plays a very important role as floor manager.

Pierpont prepared Matelote Pochouse (the predetermined classic dish) which is striped bass prepared with a classic red wine butter sauce. The salad featured a mixture of greens, crispy fried chevre filled cherry tomato, white asparagus, golden balsamic-mustard seed vinaigrette and flax seed cracker.

The entrée included Chicken Roulade with Morels, warm salad of carrot & radicchio, and tri-colored quinoa timbale. The meal concluded with a Pistachio Financier with Double Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse, pistachio ice cream, glassy pistachio tuile, pomegranate pearls and passion fruit sauce.

"The menu features a combination of delicate and bold flavors," Mahoney said. "One of the interesting items on the menu is the classic appetizer featuring striped bass grown in West Virginia.

"We are very fortunate to have the West Virginia University Aquaculture program as partners."

Pierpont will represent ACFWV in the Northeast Regional Conference held in Providence, Rhode Island April 11-14.