Student chefs win national bowl title


A partial shot of the Culinary Institute of Michigan in Muskegon. Courtesy Baker College

A team of culinary students from a school in the region have won a national competition.

Four student chefs from Muskegon’s Culinary Institute of Michigan, or CIM, a division of Baker College, recently won the 2019 American Culinary Federation, or ACF, Knowledge Bowl National Championship in Orlando, Florida.

This was the culinary school’s first-ever ACF Knowledge Bowl national title, according to CIM.

The students on the team — which was coached to victory by chef instructor Amanda Miller — were Stanley Mersino, of Spring Lake; Camryn Potter, of Zeeland; and Rachelle Murphy and Kate Strauss, of Grand Haven.

Mersino and Potter are concentrating their studies at CIM on baking and pastry, while Murphy is focusing on food and beverage management, and Strauss is specializing in culinary arts.

Formerly known as the ACF Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, the competition includes multiple rounds of a “Jeopardy”-style trivia competition, with questions covering topics such as nutrition, baking, culinary math, safety and sanitation, and the arts of classical and modern cooking.

“They absolutely crushed the opposition. Our team never lost a round. In my 32 years being involved with the ACF, I have never seen such a dominating win at the national championship,” said Tom Recinella, chef and dean of culinary at Baker College.

“It really speaks to the dedication and devotion of their coach in preparing them, as well as their own drive and focus. This is a real feather in our cap here at the CIM.”

To earn the title, the CIM team bested regional competition winners from culinary schools in Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.

Baker College

Founded in 1911, Baker College is a private not-for-profit college offering online and in-person learning.

It has multiple campuses and two affiliate sites in Michigan, and offers more than 100 academic program options for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The Culinary Institute of Michigan

The Culinary Institute of Michigan, a division of Baker College, offers associate degrees and certificate programs focused on some of the fastest-growing areas of food service.

CIM students learn in small class sizes from experienced industry professionals as they work to develop technical skills through intensive hands-on training in “world-class” culinary facilities.

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