Dr. Frank C. Costantino, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, FMP, dean of Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts in New Rochelle, N.Y., cooked his way to the head of the class in the National Pork Board’s second-annual “Be Inspired” Cooking Competition for Foodservice Educators held during the 13th-annual Leadership Conference of the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) on June 22.
Costantino joined finalists Jason Kellogg of the Culinary Arts Academy at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, Washington, D.C., and Marylou Tate of the Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts at Nashville (Tenn.) State Community College. The competition took place in the state-of-the-art kitchen labs at the newly opened, $15 million International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach—part of the Horry Georgetown Technical College system in South Carolina—which hosted the conference.
Two months prior to the competition, interested foodservice educators submitted original recipes featuring pork as the center-plate protein along with accompanying starch, vegetable, sauce and relish. According to the competition’s kitchen judge and proctor, Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC, president of Harvest America Ventures in Saranac Lake, N.Y., he and David Bottagaro, national channel marketing manager and chef with the National Pork Board, selected three finalists from among all entries based on the submitted recipes and accompanying snapshots of dishes.
Once gathered in Myrtle Beach, judges revealed to the finalists a “mystery basket” of various pork cuts, vegetables, fruits, starches, spices, seasonings, herbs, stocks and oils. Each chef had 15 minutes to plan and submit his or her menu crafted solely from the ingredients provided. Each was then allotted one hour and 45 minutes to prepare from scratch four identical portions—three for evaluating and one to serve as a show plate for conference attendees.
Sorgule, who judged the chef contestants on proper sanitation and safety, station cleanliness, knife skills, cooking technique and the like, was joined by three tasting judges—Bottagaro; Don Odiorne, vice president, foodservice, for the Idaho Potato Commission; and Roger Yale, editorial contributor to The Sun News in Myrtle Beach.
Tasting judges evaluated flavor, texture, originality, use of primary ingredients and plate presentation. Costantino ultimately received the highest overall score from the four judges. Each finalist then received a verbal critique of his or her dish from all judges.
Information on the National Pork Board’s third-annual “Be Inspired” Cooking Competition for Foodservice Educators (the final cook-off for which will be held during the 2018 CAFÉ Leadership Conference next June in Milwaukee, Wis.), will post at www.CafeMeetingPlace.com after the first of the year.