Academy of Culinary Arts Names Iron Student Chefs

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First-place team members from left: Danielle Ziegler of Franklinville, Austin Lucas of New Gretna, John Martucci of Sicklerville (kneeling), Allen Davis of Riverside and Matthew Hennessey of Buena with ACA Chef Educator Vincent Tedeschi of Northfield.

Fifteen culinary students showed their passion for food and competed in the 12th annual Iron Student Chef competition at the Academy of Culinary Arts located at Atlantic Cape Community College’s Mays Landing Campus, April 25.

At 9:40 a.m. sharp, it was time to start the competition coordinated by ACA Chef Educator Vincent Tedeschi of Northfield. The students were organized into three teams. Each team received a “College Student Convenience Market Basket,” a new spin on the yearly competition, consisting of four ingredients: chicken flavored ramen noodles, Bisquick, minute rice and yogurt. The teams were given 15 minutes to create recipes and 90 minutes to execute their dishes, using one of the ingredients in each of their four courses.

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The winning team’s dishes.

The teams were given a variety of other ingredients and told to produce three plates for each dish, one for display, and the others for judging.

The first place trophy-winning team included: Matthew Hennessey of Buena, John Martucci of Sicklerville, Austin Lucas of New Gretna, Allen Davis of Riverside and Danielle Ziegler of Franklinville.

The second place team, silver medal winners: Kyle Timpson of Dennis Township, Thomas Anastasia of Brigantine, Kris Brown of Vineland, Juliana Ileshi of Pitman and Morgan Thielman of Burlington.

The bronze medal, third place team: Moises Vera of Absecon, Luis Batista of Atlantic City, David Smith of Waretown, Thomas Louis of Blackwood and Amanda Giamporcaro of Blue Anchor.

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Tasting judges, ACA Director of Culinary Operations Chef Bruce Johns, left, and Chef Stephen Serano, discuss dishes with Academy of Culinary Arts students Monday, April 25, after the competition.

The winning team’s menu consisted of Savory Ramen Noodles Profiteroles with a Roasted Garlic and Cheese Stuffing, Minute Rice Beef Pho, Spinach and Goat Cheese Crepe with Cognac Cream Sauce, and Lemon Yogurt Meringue Tartlet with Blueberry Coulis Sauce.

ACA Director of Culinary Operations Chef Bruce Johns and Chef Stephen Serano, chef owner of Café Loren in Avalon and adjunct instructor at the Academy of Culinary Arts, were this year’s tasting judges. Kitchen judges were ACA chef educators Daniel Matt and Linda Wohlman.

Judging was based on a possible 50 points, including 10 points each for flavor, knowledge of item, presentation, originality and sanitation. Teams lost 10 points for lateness and 10 points if kitchen/lab clean up was not satisfactory.

Each student received a medal and a knife from Mercer Cutlery. The winning team also received a trophy and choice of a cookbook.

The Academy hosts the Iron Student Chef competition each spring. The Academy offers two-year degree programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry, and food service management, and specialization programs in hot foods, baking and pastry, food service management and catering. Full-time classes meet five hours a day, Monday through Friday, in morning and afternoon sessions. Registration for the fall semester is under way. For more information about the ACA, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, email or visit

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