photo of culinary team holding cups and certificates

Oregon Coast Culinary Institute’s Competition Team takes National Title again in 2021

Anne Matthews News

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is pleased to announce that once again, Oregon Coast Culinary Institute’s (OCCI) competition team has placed first in the nation among collegiate competitors. The team was able to hold the title most recently won in 2019 as the competition was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The team worked tirelessly for months in preparation for the event held recently in Orlando at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) National Convention.

The 2021 ACF Student Team Members are Catherine Brown, Katherine Duncan, Elena Smith, Carter Philbrick, Shane Wilder, and Brayden Saranto.

The championship culinary team was coached by Chef Randy Torres, Executive Director of OCCI who was also awarded the ACF Cutting Edge Award, honoring his many years of coaching and work in the industry.

The four-course menu featured many local Oregon products, such as salmon, crab, chanterelle mushrooms, hazelnuts, cranberries, and coffee.

Course 1 – Appetizer: Sautéed wild salmon with a citrus herb crust and crab essence cream sauce, summer succotash, tart apple & curried Dungeness crab, bacon belly fritter. Petite herbs with cucumbers, charred lemon vinaigrette.

Course 2 – Salad: Variety of seasoned tomatoes, strawberry tomato bavarois, tomato granita. Goat cheese mousse, avocado puree, crispy quinoa. Tender greens tossed in red wine vinaigrette.

Course 3 – Main: Roasted coffee crusted Colorado lamb short loin, multi-tiered potato accompanied with stout ragù, a duo of parsnip puree and obliques tossed with hazelnuts and brown butter. Brussels sprouts with mustard and cranberry, summer chanterelles. Reduction of natural juices.

Course 4 – Finale – Dessert: Peach mousse, filled with raspberry gel and crispy white chocolate layer on a shortbread cookie. Bourbon glazed peach, lemon curd, peach pâté de fruit. Fizzy raspberry, quenelle of peach ice cream with raspberry sorbet and raspberry sauce.

An OCCI alumni student, Marissa Brazell, also competed on her own and won ACF Student Chef of the Year.

Since 1992, the ACF competition has molded students into young professionals. It has put to test the many skills learned in the classroom and, most importantly, inspired young culinarians to dream big and work tirelessly to achieve their goals. Competitors learn valuable skills, from time management to working on a team, that carry them into successful careers. One of the main goals of the competition is to raise the standards of culinary excellence and professionalism.

For over 20 years now, ACF’s young chefs-in-training have risen to the challenge, and each year they continue to heighten expectations.

Other teams that participated in the competition were from Grayson College; Fort Drum Military Team; International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach; The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College; Metropolitan Community College’s Institute of the Culinary Arts; Asheville-Buncombe Tech Community College.

To learn more about Southwestern’s culinary and baking & pastry programs visit www.socc.edu/occi.