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Reporter's Notebook

May 12, 2012

Area chefs have been feasting on the competition

Some local chefs are cooking winning fare.

A five-student team from the State University College of Technology at Delhi recently won the American Culinary Federation's Northeast Region Student Team Championship.

The competition was during the 2012 ACF Northeast Regional Conference in Niagara Falls from April 28 to 30.

This is the sixth time a SUNY Delhi team has won the regional competition and qualified for the national competition in Florida in July, where it will have a chance to repeat their predecessors' 2010 national victory, a media release from the federation said.

Also, Ross Thompson of Oneonta won Riviana Foods' What's in Your Wok? Fried Rice Competition at the same conference, and he advances to the national level.

Thompson, a member of ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains, is sous chef at The Plains at Parish Homestead in Oneonta.

In the recent event, Thompson and three other contestants had 20 minutes to create an original fried-rice dish. Thompson won $250 for his African Fried Rice. He said it was his first ACF competition.

"It means a lot to win because I have worked hard to keep up my ACF certification," he said in a release. "I really want to put my name out there as a chef."

The regional conference drew more than 500 chefs, cooks and professionals and also offered seminars and cooking demonstrations.

Members of the SUNY Delhi team, which represented ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains, are James Russell, Leonard Messina, Stephanie Wickert, captain Mathew Howard and Edward Maley. The American Academy of Chefs, ACF's honor society, gave $1,000 to the team to assist with expenses to travel to the national competition.

The SUNY Delhi team will compete at nationals against three teams.

"Winning the regional competition is proof to the team that all the hard work was worth it," Victor Sommo, team coach, said in the release. "I think the team is most excited that they get to cook together again."

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