Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s Student Culinary Team will travel to national competition after winning the American Culinary Federation’s Southeast Regional Competition Jan. 13 in Roanoke, Va.
Teams from A-B Tech have won 20 state titles since 1996, received the Southeast Regional Title a record 11 times, and were named National Champions in 2007. No other team in the country has had more appearances in the culinary finals.
Team members Jamie Canton, Susan Wiley, Abigail Coniguliaro, Cheyane Verran and captain Brandon Kastelic, will spend the next six months practicing for the national competition, which will take place during ACF’s national convention Aug 4-8 in Orlando, Fla.
Student Uriah Standish won second place in the Southeast Student Chef of the Year contest during the regionals, too. Team coaches are Chefs Bronwen McCormick and Chris Bugher.
“I am so proud of our team for winning the Southeast Regional competition,” said Bugher. “They have worked countless hours outside of their already busy schedule to make sure they were prepared. Now we have to focus on nationals.”
Team captain Kastelic had a bachelor’s degree in risk management and insurance before coming to A-B Tech. “After a string of various jobs, I decided that I wanted to pursue my passion and do something that I actually enjoy,” he said. “That is what led me to enroll in A-B Tech’s Culinary Program. Being on the team has changed me in a lot of ways. It has made me more organized, more efficient as a cook, broadened my culinary knowledge, and has made me faster.”
“We could not be more proud of these student chefs,” said Culinary and Hospitality Chair Cathy Strohm-Horton. “In addition, to taking full course loads, they have been practicing tirelessly for months in preparation. Their chef instructors have putting an enormous effort to put together a world-class competition team that underscores the excellence of these programs.”
The ACF student team championship requires teams to prepare a classical dish as part of their menu as prescribed by Auguste Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire. At the national convention, all teams will be required to prepare a modern version of Sole Veronique as their appetizer. They will complete the menu with a salad, entrée and dessert. They will also be required to create an edible cold platter.