Potsdam team takes bronze medal at SUNY Culinary Summit in Buffalo
Monday, June 25, 2018 - 9:11 am

From left are John VanKennen, Joel Brown, Amy Hazen, and Nate Shene

POTSDAM — A culinary team from SUNY Potsdam earned a bronze medal at the SUNY Culinary Summit competition held on the University at Buffalo campus June 12-14

SUNY Potsdam was represented by four PACES Dining Service managers at the competition, which was sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation, part of the second annual SUNY Culinary conference.

The Summit is geared for SUNY Dining Service Operations that are self-operative or independently run. The PACES team competed against professional pastry, sous and executive chefs from other SUNY campuses.

The SUNY Potsdam team consisted of John VanKennen, Amy Hazen, Nate Shene, and Joel Brown.

Each team devised their own menu based on ingredients they were given, and was judged by four ACF Chefs, who ranked teams on food presentation, portion and nutritional balance; menu creativity, food flavor, taste, texture, handling, cooking techniques, proper use of ingredients, and the team’s work flow. Each team was given two and a half hours to prepare, cook, and plate their menu for a four-course meal. The PACES menu consisted of: Brown butter poached lobster tail served on a bed of handmade teff ravioli stuffed with black garlic and ricotta: Herb grilled rack of lamb with farro risotto garnished with crisp purple sweet potato chips: Pan seared Quail accompanied by a mustard green, chayote squash and jicama salad dressed with kumquat vinaigrette, and homemade rhubarb ice cream topped with candied walnuts.

The team garnered accolades for their poached lobster tail, inspired by “The French Laundry”: VanKennen chose to prepare the dish simply to let the flavors shine through. “The competition is a team effort, and it allows us to work together in ways that strengthen our program…I always leave these events a little more humbled, we have such a great staff at PACES, and we may not all have culinary degrees, but we love to make great food, and we do it well.” “We are all very proud of our staff and how they have represented PACES and SUNY Potsdam” echoed Pat Gray, PACES Dining Services’ Director.

SUNY Auxiliary Service Association identified the need for a gathering of chefs and cooks to meet the growing demand for a culinary experience on SUNY campuses. The Summit featured guest speakers, discussions, hands-on interest sessions and the Competition. University of Buffalo hosted the summit, which was attended by SUNY Geneseo, Brockport, Morrisville, and Potsdam.