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From Coos Bay USA to Stuttgart Germany, eight student chefs and Executive Chef Randy Torres brought the award-winning spirit of Southwestern’s Oregon Coast Culinary Institute to the IKA/Culinary Olympics in February.

OCCI students joined other aspiring chefs from across the country on the USA Junior National Team. The excitement was intense with this being the first major competition for most students. “This event is amazing! It connects young chefs with people who can help further their careers for the rest of their lives,” OCCI student chef Brooklyn Hansen said. 

image of a plate of desserts

The 26th international culinary sport competition featured teams from 55 nations and more than 1,200 participants. It’s the oldest, largest, and most international culinary competition in the industry. 

The USA National Team, comprising professional chefs from across the nation and coached by OCCI Executive Chef Randy Torres, brought home an overall Silver Medal.

“It’s wonderful being involved in the camaraderie that IKA fosters. This competition is a unique adventure for students and SWOCC is proud to be a part of it. It’s a pivotal experience that changed the direction of my life when I participated on a team in 2008.”  – Chef Torres

image of three chefs working in a commercial kitchen with plates on a counter in front of them

The USA Junior Team, all 25 or younger, participated in two competitions. They earned a Bronze Medal in the “Restaurant of Nations,” a three-course menu for 110 people, and brought home Silver in the “Junior Chef’s Table,” a five-course menu for ten people.

OCCI hosted both teams’ practice sessions as they prepared for Stuttgart. It was extremely valuable training for our students to work alongside and learn from the finest professional chefs from around the country.

Congratulations Chef Torres and OCCI students!

 

 

 

Pictured front row: Elena Smith, Liam T. O’ Brien, Jesone Khantikone, Brooklyn Hansen, Oliver Cowan, Chef Randy Torres

Back row: Maxwell R. Smith, Maddison Valdez, Paige Hoene

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