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STLCC-Forest Park Students Medal at Prestigious Culinary Competition

December 16, 2009

Five students in the culinary arts program at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park won top honors in the 2009 Performance Food Group Student Culinary Competition recently conducted at STLCC-Forest Park.

The Forest Park quintet of Chuck Hess, Paul Holthaus, Marie Wittenauer, Kendra Couch and Meredith Frank earned the only medal in the competition, based on overall score. The competition is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation. Other schools competing were L’Ecole Culinaire, Le Cordon Bleu, East Central College and Southwestern Illinois College.

In its fourth year, the competition tests students in two phases of cooking:

  • The first phase, a skills salon, put teams head-to-head in an 80-minute relay race to complete basic knife skills, butchery and pastry techniques.
  • The second phase consisted of the team cooking a four-course meal for four people in 90 minutes.

Forest Park’s winning menu consisted of an appetizer featuring pan-seared Dover sole over sweet potato puree and risotto; a salad of mixed field greens with beet caviar and shallot vinaigrette; an entree of prosciutto-wrapped chicken roulade with a parcel of chicken ragout; and a dessert of cinnamon-hazelnut mousse with raspberry jam and apricot sorbet.

The five team members were required to have no previous competitive experience, and were given only a month to practice before competing. The Forest Park team was coached by Charles Rossi, executive chef; Casey Shiller, executive pastry chef; and Brian Horton, a Forest Park culinary graduate.