MCCC Proves Ideal Site for High
School Culinary Competition


Mercer's Culinary Center was bustling with activity on January 31, when culinary students from three New Jersey technical high schools participated in the ProStart Culinary Competition presented by the New Jersey Restaurant Association. Teams of students from Atlantic, Essex and Passaic counties transported a delectable assortment of food items to the Culinary Center, where they prepared appetizers, entrées and desserts before a select panel of judges; among the judges were Chef Daniel Turgeon of the Culinary Institute of America, Jim Weaver of Tre Piani Restaurant, and Mercer's own faculty members, Doug Fee, Frank Benowitz and Chris Depagnier.

After preparing their three-course meals, the teams moved to the MCCC Conference Center, where they lunched on the fruits of their labor and then took part in the business segment of the competition. This portion included a management case study and quiz bowl on topics such as budgeting and purchasing.

The first in what is exected to be an annual event, organizers hope to include all eight of the state's technical school culinary programs in the future. They note that MCCC proved the ideal site for the event because of its central location and stellar facilities for both cooking and conferencing.

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Students from Passiac County Technical School
prepared a crab appetizer, an entree of stuffed fillet of beef, and berry-filled crepes for dessert.
MCCC faculty member Frank Benowitz, center, was among eight chefs who judged elements such as technique, sanitation practices and presentation.