Top college and university chefs from the region will compete in a “Chopped”-style competition in Saratoga Springs, Jan. 8-10. Photo provided.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College will host the ninth annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) Conference and Competition, Jan. 8-10. The conference will culminate in a “Chopped”-style contest featuring chefs from colleges and universities across the Northeast.
The annual event is organized by Skidmore’s Dining Services. It provides staff development and continues to raise the standards of the College’s award-wining dining program.
This year’s contestants hail from 10 institutions across New York and Massachusetts: Binghamton University, Bonnie Briar Country Club, Cornell University, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, State University of New York at Albany, State University of New York at Cobleskill, State University of New York at Geneseo, Tufts University and Williams College.
“Skidmore College looks forward to hosting this exciting competition once again,” said Mark Miller, director of Dining Services. “Participants have the chance to be inspired by one another’s culinary creativity. The event offers professional development in a fun and dynamic setting. Our chefs enhance their culinary skills and come away with innovative dishes that can be put into practice — and onto the plate — in our own dining hall.”
Skidmore’s team has won gold medals each of the past six years of the ACF competition. Skidmore’s food service has achieved wide recognition, including a No. 4 ranking for Best College Food in New York in 2020 from Niche.com based on meal plan costs and student reviews. Top-ranked colleges offer outstanding on-campus dining and provide easy access to healthy, quality food across a wide range of cuisines and dietary preferences.
As part of the competition, each four-person team must prepare both a four-course menu and buffet platter serving 10 from the same ingredients. Each team has one hour to develop the menu and then several hours to prepare and serve the dishes.
A panel of seven professional chefs will judge the teams on originality, taste and presentation, and may award or deduct points for timing, teamwork, utilization of food, skills, sanitation and overall preparation.
The ACF-sanctioned competition begins in Skidmore’s Murray-Aikins Dining Hall at 6 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 10. Teams will prepare and present their courses until 1 p.m., when final judging gets under way. Awards will be presented at approximately 3 p.m. The public is welcome to view the event at any time during the day. Admission is free.