Academy of Culinary Arts Names Iron Student Chefs

two female culinary and two male culinary students with male chef educator

First-place team members from left to right: Amiri Jones of Pleasantville, Allison Ebner of Atco, Dana Rowe of Bridgeton and Mekhi Davis of Mays Landing with ACA Chef Educator Vincent Tedeschi of Northfield.

Fourteen Academy of Culinary Arts students showed their passion for food and competed in the 14th annual Iron Student Chef Competition at the ACA located at Atlantic Cape Community College’s Mays Landing Campus, April 23.

At 9:30 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. Their mission: to create four dishes, each incorporating a tightly guarded secret ingredient revealed only minutes before the start of cooking. The teams were given 15 minutes to create recipes and 90 minutes to cook.

The secret ingredient to be included in each team’s four dishes, from appetizers to entrée was the potato, with the catch being they had to use five different types including Yukon, Red Bliss, Peruvian Blue, Sweet and Russet. The teams were given the potatoes and 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: Mekhi Davis of Mays Landing, Amiri Jones of Pleasantville, Dana Rowe of Bridgeton and Allison Ebner of Atco.

The second place team, silver medal winners: Dave Fellenbaum of Cape May Court House, Taylor Callaghan of Little Egg Harbor, Jaime Paguio of Mays Landing, Ony Randrasana of Somers Point and Anthony Green of Gloucester Township.

The bronze medal, third place team: Briana Husak of Vineland, Brendan O’Brien of Somers Point, Jeffrey Slotterback of Egg Harbor Township, Brian Monroe of Middle Township and James Knights of Brigantine.

four dishes of food

The winning team’s dishes.

The winning team’s menu consisted of Chicken Salad with Peruvian Blue Potato and Avocado, Meatloaf-stuffed Loaded Baked Potato, Fried Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caramel Sauce topped with Pulled Sugar, and Potato Shortbread with a Strawberry Reduction.

Chef Christopher Sanchez of Black Eyed Susans in Long Beach Island and Chef Steven Cozzi of Fuze Italian in Avalon were this year’s tasting judges. The kitchen judge was ACA Chef Educator Daniel Matt.

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.

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.

The academy also offers two one-year certificate programs, Baking and Pastry Certificate I and Culinary Arts Certificate I. These two-semester certificates are designed to provide students with career training for entry-level positions in the baking and pastry or culinary fields. The certificates can also be used as a foundation for completing an associate degree at the Academy of Culinary Arts.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about the ACA, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, email or visit

See more photos HERE.

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