Culinary students take 2nd place at international competition

Culinary students who competed in paella competition pose for photo while hold medallions and smiling.

ACC culinary students Nadia Rodriguez, John Silva, Stephanie Calk, and Ismael Sanchez win 2nd place at competition.

ACC culinary students earned second place at the 14th annual Paella Lovers United Competition, held recently in Austin.

The team – including students John Silva, Nadia Rodriguez, Ismael Sanchez, and Stephanie Calk – competed against more than 30 international teams including professional chefs and successful restaurateurs. The students spent two weeks preparing for the competition.

“It takes immense dedication,” says Chef David Waggoner, ACC culinary arts professor. “The competition itself is an intense, 10-hour day. They’re outside working over an open fire. They gain a great understanding of the need for total preparation and organization.”

image-6“We didn’t think we were going to place,” admits Sanchez. “We were facing chefs who spent years perfecting their recipes. Some traveled in from Spain. We went in hoping to gain experience and leave with new skills. It’s a true honor to bring back the trophy.”

The only student-based team in the competition, the ACC students faced a tight deadline to get the dish prepared and presented to the judges.

“We came in ready for the challenge. Our win speaks to the power of this program at ACC,” says Silva. “We learn not only the skills, but the dedication it takes to succeed in this industry.”

Spring registration is underway for the Culinary Arts Program, which is part of the college’s Culinary, Hospitality, and Tourism Area of Study. For more information visit the Culinary Arts page.


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