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Colorado Springs community college students heat it up in culinary contests

May 10, 2017 Updated: May 10, 2017 at 10:17 am
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From left: Pikes Peak Community College students Kari Rosenbaum. Stephanie Rigsby, instructor Richard Carpenter, students AnnMatie Rose and Matt Thomas won medals at the American Culinary Federation contest in Pueblo. Courtesy photo

The Pikes Peak Community College culinary department has been busy, stirring up some impressive wins at state competitions.

"We've had some great success this spring with several events," Richard Carpenter, PPCC pastry instructor, said in an email.

Within PPCC's culinary department is the Career Start program, which provides technical training for high school and college-age students.

Under the leadership of chef Heidi Block, 18 students won five gold, nine silver and two bronze medals at the Colorado Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America competition in Denver. Hundreds of high school students, who are also community college students, from around the state attend this event and compete in occupational contests, including culinary.

Here's a look at the awards:

Gold: Jacob Cather, knife skills, best of category; Aaron Mather, knife skills; Madeline Kuiper, thematic table design; Angelo Abillar, runner-up thematic table design; and Danny Anderson, gourmet savory

Silver: Bradley Sturt and John Green, front of house; Kylia Johnson, cake design; Ally Thies, cake design; Blake Webster, gourmet savory; Dylan Blodgett, knife skills; Ashley Rector, baking and pastry; Carissa Looper, baking and pastry; Riley Bautista, gourmet sweet; and Aspen Dantzler, gourmet sweet.

Bronze: Ashlin Hurt, gourmet sweet; and Talia Watt and Marisa Garber, front of the house.

Carpenter also bragged about wins at the Mary Jane Voelker Invitational of the American Culinary Federation contest in Pueblo. Since this is an ACF-sanctioned event, any ACF member, student or professional can enter. Instead of competing directly against one another, individual competitors - mostly PPCC and Pueblo Community College students - squared off against national ACF standards. Those with scores of 90 or higher received gold medals, while those with scores higher than 80, 70 or 60 earned a silver or bronze medal or a paper certificate, respectively.

The ACF contest had top-notch judges, including chef Kevin Storm, a U.S. Olympic coach for culinary arts; Master Chef Bill Franklin, one of roughly 63 Master Chefs in the country; and Peter Sproul, from Utah Valley University, one of the top five culinary schools nationally. "I was honored to win a gold medal," Carpenter said. "Our students received three silver and five bronze medals."

Gold: Carpenter, wedding cakes.

Silver: Anna Rose, wedding cakes; Christine Gaccetta- Sharp, celebration cake; Stephanie Rigsby, petits fours.

Bronze: Kara Latta, celebration cake; Sarah Moore, sugar show piece and petits fours; Matthew Thomas, skills-pastry; and Kari Rosenbaum, skills-hot foods

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