Johnson And Wales Students Take Top Prizes At Culinary Competition

Apr 21, 2014

A major culinary conference wrapped up in Warwick, and Johnson & Wales students came away big winners.

Johnson and Wales campus in downtown Providence.
Credit Erika Smith / flickr

Johnson & Wales swept the student cooking competitions at the American Culinary Federation’s Northeast Conference. A group of five students successfully defended the student team championship, which Johnson and Wales also won last year. Geoffrey Lanez –who captained last year’s winning team and served as an assistant coach for this year’s, competed individually, and was named the ACF Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year. Lanez had apprentices to help him set up, but once the competition started, he had just an hour to cook a three-pound chicken all by himself. Lanez managed to do a lot in that hour:

“I took the chicken breast, I pounded it out, I stuffed it, wrapped it in bacon, I poached it to show another technique, I seared it, I basted it, I glazed it, and then I roasted it, and then I took the thigh…”

The list keeps going.

“and I braised it and I took that, added it to some sautéed spinach and some mushrooms and then I stuffed that inside an aerated cake.”

Lanez says he was able to be relaxed as he cooked, because he’d been training twenty or more hours a week for seven months. He cooked a lot of chickens in that time: about 40, or 50.

Meanwhile, the Johnson and Wales team was training anywhere from 35 to 50 hours a week, and keep in mind, these are full-time students. There’s no let-up in sight for these dedicated student chefs because the competition keeps going. Lanez, and the Johnson and Wales team are headed to Kansas City in July, where they’ll compete against other regional champions for National titles.

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