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Chef Woojay Wins Gold Medal in International Culinary Olympics 2012

Woojay Poynter-2

Coos Bay, OR. - Chef Woojay Poynter, Instructor at Southwestern Oregon Community College, won the gold medal Saturday in Erfurt, Germany, at the International Culinary Olympics. He presented his show platter and appetizer display on the morning of October 6, 2012. Poynter represented the State of Oregon in 2010 in the Great American Seafood Cook-off.  To date, he has won three gold medals and two silver medals awarded by the American Culinary Federation. The IKA 2012 is his first international competition. Poynter will now assist the media productions team for video production of the Youth Team USA who compete on October 7th and the 9th.

Poynter feels very fortunate to be surrounded by the welcoming environment of the OCCI and the SWOCC to pursue his dream and equally privileged to train with the Youth Team under the direction of Chef Instructor Randy Torres and the OCCI Coordinator Shawn Hanlin.  He has been coached by them who graciously shared their time and wealth of knowledge to prepare for the challenging event.  He firmly believes that culinary competitions are great opportunities for contestants to learn and develop new ideas and ultimately wishes to try out for the US National Team for the next IKA in 2016.  He believes this is one of the best ways to gain valuable knowledge and skills to pass down to the students of OCCI.

Originally from Seoul, Korea, Poynter earned a BS in Computer Science and became a navigator in the US Air Force after graduating from Michigan Technological University.  Woojay logged over 1500 flying hours and 500 combat hours on board RC-135 aircraft.  After the Air Force service, he studied Culinary Arts in Omaha, NE and worked at a number of restaurants and hotels.  After earning his degree, he worked at a guest ranch in Montana and then a ultra-modern restaurant called Alinea in Chicago, IL.  Then he located to Portland, OR and began teaching culinary curriculum at a culinary institute.  Woojay moved to Coos Bay and started teaching at OCCI beginning late 2008.  Woojay also holds a MA in Economics and currently studying Food Science.

Today, Youth Team USA from Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Oregon Coast Culinary Institute competes in the Hot Food Competition. Check the Livestream button of Southwestern’s Website at http://www.socc.edu/  SWOCC Media Productions will carry livestreaming of the events and archive the video taped episodes on their website. The American Culinary Federation carried the livestream from the SWOCC producers and report 1000 viewers.

Thanks to our sponsors of Youth Team USA: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bicoastal Media, Confrerie De La Chaine Des Rotisseurs Foundation, Coos Bay-North Bend Visitor and Convention Center, Day Ship Supply, KCBY-TV, The Mill Casino and Resort and Hotel, Caddy McKeown, Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, Seafood OREGON, Portland Roasting, Vend West, Caddy McKeown, Phillip Anderson, Baxter Baird and Jerry Harris. 

Published Oct 8, 2012 (Updated Oct 16, 2012)

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