Culinary Institute of Michigan Students Win Top Honors in Chocolate Competition

March 23, 2011

Students from the Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) at Baker College of Muskegon have garnered top honors for their mouth-watering chocolate creations at the recent 22nd annual MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit competition.

The winners, who created culinary masterpieces surrounding a “Masks through time from around the globe” theme, included:

  • The duo team of Shelli Halman (from Grant) and Laura Alvarez (from Grant) won first prize for an Oriental-influenced piece that featured a Chinese warrior mask and two dragons; it included an orange spiced chocolate mousse torte;
  • The duo team of Joseph Gonzalez (from Lapeer) and Chad Starr (Howard City) won third place for their Aztec-influenced piece that featured an Aztec warrior’s mask and the “Game of the Ball,” a traditional Aztec game;
  • The duo team of Ashleigh Hile (from North Branch) and Elizabeth Adamson (from Grand Rapids) won the Premier Chocolatier Choice award for their Chai tea-flavored chocolate showpiece that featured Tanzania and a mask of a Tanzanian tribal warrior.

“Over the past 10 years, our baking and pastry students have taken top honors every time they’ve entered the competition,” said Lee Coggin, JD, Baker College of Muskegon president. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of both our faculty and our students. We couldn’t be more proud of their creativity, professionalism and accomplishments.”

Competitors included professional pastry chefs from throughout Michigan as well as six teams from other Michigan culinary arts schools.

The Baker College of Muskegon Culinary Institute of Michigan competition entries, which were made entirely of chocolate, were created at the CIM chocolate lab in Muskegon and carefully transported to Lansing. No metal or plastic was used to support the structures.

Luis Amado, CIM baking and pastry arts department chair, and CIM instructors Diana Perez and Justin Raha, coached the three teams. All the students expect to graduate this summer.

The Baker College System