HRM students bring home first place honors
UMES bested powerhouses Morrisville State and Johnson & Wales to bring home first place in the International Food Service Executives Association annual culinary challenge.
“We didn’t place last year, so it was redemption for me, especially,” said captain David Cox, a senior from Suitland, Md.–the only returning team member.
Cox, five fellow Hotel and Restaurant Management students and a chaperone boarded a plane headed for Dallas April 10 for the IFSEA event as part of its 2013 conference. The thought on their minds….what would be this year’s mystery ingredient.
“There’s only 90 minutes for the whole competition,” Cox said. “The first 10 minutes is dedicated to planning the menu.” Competitors face-off in individual equipped kitchens and a shared pantry of over 132 items.
“We don’t know what will be there,” Cox said. Teams have to evaluate the items quickly to prepare three samples of three courses; an appetizer, entrée and dessert. They don’t go with recipes in hand, either, Cox said, so they have to use the skills and experience they’ve acquired at their respective schools to be successful.
The UMES student team from the school’s IFSEA chapter “worked” because of the many hours they spent over a four-week period meeting to practice. “Chef (Ralston Whittingham) would give us a mystery box of items (ingredients) and we would practice the scenario of the competition,” Cox said.
The mystery ingredient required to be used in one dish this year—Nutella, a hazelnut spread which the team incorporated in the dessert.
“We were all nervous, but I was able to calm us down and get to work,” Cox said. “The team did great and executed all of the dishes to a tee and communicated effectively. I was proud of them.”
Cox said they showed the competition, which also included the University of Missouri, that UMES was a “serious competitor” despite the fact the program here is management based and not just culinary. “We can also cook.”
Other benefits from the conference, Cox said, that students took home was information gained from classes, workshops and networking with veteran food service professionals they were paired with as mentors. His favorite class—one on fruit and vegetable carving.
Angie Price, an administrative assistant in the department who accompanied the team, was proud of their accomplishment. “Mama Price went with them and we brought it home,” she said.
Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580.
Photo caption: UMES’ team that took first place in the IFSEA’s culinary challenge, from left, are: Marlon Bouie, Kadijatu Kargbo, David Cox, Jade Overton and Jamel Smith.