Student Culinary Team to Compete in Nationals in July

The Joliet Junior College hot foods student culinary team won the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Student Team Central Region Championship in New Orleans and are now preparing to compete in the national championship this summer in Dallas.

The five-member team includes David Basile of Peotone; Robert Belanski of Plainfield; Aaron Guajardo III of Joliet; Laura Korte of New Lenox; and Michael Shannon of Plainfield. Guajardo also won Regional Student of the Year at the competition and will now compete for that national title in July as well.

Team coaches are JJC Chefs Tim Bucci of Oak Forest; Kyle Richardson of New Lenox; and Assistant Coach Suzette Simpson of Bolingbrook. As the Central Region champions, the team now competes for the national title against three other winning regional teams at the 2011 ACF National Convention in Dallas, July 22–26.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the students and how hard they’ve worked to get to this point,” Richardson said. “The feeling is incredibly humble, especially considering all the great teams we competed against. I have been so graced with this amazing set of students. The chance to travel back to the nationals, feels like a dream come true.”

The team competed against 10 other student teams from across the region in a competition that consisted of three phases—cold-food presentation, skills and cooking. During the cooking phase, teams prepared four portions of a fish starter, salad and dessert of their choice and the pre-assigned classical entrée, poulet sauté a la catalane, from “Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery.”

Richardson said that since January, the team has won three gold medals, and hopes to bring home a fourth from the ACF national competition.

He added that the team is also hosting three fundraiser dinners in June, which are open to the public, to help pay for their travel expenses to the nationals.

The dinners are scheduled for June 16, June 23, and June 30 at the JJC Renaissance Center, 214 Ottawa Street in downtown Joliet, and will feature the four-course meal the team will prepare for their national competition. Suggested donation to attend is $40. For more information, contact Kyle Richardson at (815) 280-2447 or

PHOTO: From left to right, bottom row: Laura Korte, Robert Belanski, Chef Kyle Richardson. Top row: Chef Tim Bucci, David Basile, Michael Shannon, Aaron Guajardo III, Chef Suzette Simpson.

Competition Meal Menu

Sautéed Salmon with whole grain mustard
and chive butter sauce
Horseradish Dumplings, Asparagus and Leeks
Slow cooked fennel
Shrimp and Salmon Mosaic
Shellfish Foam
Asparagus Cream
Fennel and Meyer Lemon Salad

Windenoaks Greens with a Sherry Vinaigrette
Goat Cheese and Grape Terrine
Artichoke with a Lemon Aioli
Salad of Pear, Capers, and Citrus
Fennel Coriander Dusted Bread Crisp

Suckling Pig Loin with Sausage and House made Bacon with Natural reduction
Braised Pork Belly Croquette
Cured Pork Stuffed Glazed Onion with Pork Consume
Carrot, Corn, Kohlrabi, and Broccolini
Potato Pave

Strawberry and Sour Cream Mousse with Lime Gelee
Pistachio Cake
Strawberry and Raspberry Compote with Lime Caviar
and Pistachio Macaroons
Pistachio Ice Cream
Mixed Berry Sauce

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