Left to right: Dean of Culinary, Chef Thomas Recinella; Program Director, Jamie Leroux; Program Director, Chef Paula Recinella; Steven Stempnik; Adam Light; Danielle Little; Sammy Hecht; Chef Amanda Miller; Chef Scott Twichell; Hannah Denys; Gage Hess, Chef Chris Sowa; Maya Van Buskirk
Baker College’s Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) will be adding some new hardware to its trophy cases, as multiple students and faculty members earned recognition from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) at the ACF 2022 National Convention in Las Vegas, Nev., July 25-28, 2022.
Several CIM students, from both campuses in Muskegon and Port Huron, Mich., competed for ACF Student Chef of the Year and Student Pastry Chef of the Year honors. Two Chef Instructors, Chef Amanda Miller, CSC, CPC and Chef Chris Sowa, CEC, each were recognized with distinct ACF honors at the National Convention as well.
At ACF sanctioned competitions, student chefs compete for their own individual honors based on a set scoring system, not head-to-head against other chefs.
In the ACF Student Pastry Chef of the Year competition, the following student achievements were earned:
- Samantha Hecht of CIM Port Huron: Bronze Medal; ACF Central Region Champion; First runner-up for National Student Pastry Chef of the Year
- Danielle Little of CIM Port Huron: Bronze Medal; 3rd place overall
- Hannah Denys of CIM Muskegon: Bronze Medal
- Maya Vanbuskirk of CIM Port Huron: Bronze Medal
For ACF National Student Chef of the Year:
- Emily Rozema of CIM Port Huron: Silver Medal; 4th place overall
- Steven Stempnik of CIM Port Huron: Bronze Medal
- Gage Hess of CIM Muskegon: Bronze Medal
“Our student competitors worked so hard to represent the CIM, the state of Michigan and the ACF Central Region,” said Chef Tom Recinella, CEC, AAC, HGT, Baker College’s Dean of Culinary. “They put their all into it, and we couldn’t be prouder of them. Without a doubt, they put forth their best efforts and performed amazingly for the judges.”
Additionally, CIM Muskegon campus Instructor, Chef Amanda Miller, received the ACF Presidential Medallion. According to the ACF, the Presidential Medallion is considered the highest honor given by the President of the American Culinary Federation. It is presented in recognition of outstanding representation of the ACF fundamental principles, including superior strength of character and continued contributions to ACF and/or the culinary industry as a whole.
Chef Miller’s colleague, Chef Chris Sowa, a CIM Port Huron campus instructor, was honored with an induction into the American Academy of Chefs (AAC). The honor society of ACF, the AAC represents the highest standards of professionalism in the organization, society and industry.
“We are so proud of Chef Miller and Chef Sowa…the respective honors bestowed on them by the ACF and the Academy are consistent with their accomplishments as chefs and educators, and their commitment to furthering the industry and mentoring young chefs, pastry chefs and managers,” said Chef Recinella. “To be awarded a Presidential Medallion is an honor not given to many people, and to be inducted into the American Academy of Chefs is a distinct honor that is reflective of adherence to the very highest standards of being a chef.”
The award-winning Culinary Institute of Michigan, a division of Baker College, offers associate degree programs focused on some of the fastest-growing areas of food service. CIM students, who can study Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry or Food and Beverage Management, learn from experienced industry professionals and develop technical skills through intensive hands-on training in world-class culinary facilities. Student chefs also gain real-world experience working at Courses, a teaching restaurant, open to the public and located on each CIM campus. More information on Baker College’s Culinary Institute of Michigan is available at Baker.edu/CIM.
About Baker College
Founded in 1911, Baker College is one of Michigan’s largest, private nonprofit colleges and the top private transfer school in the state. Baker College has multiple on-ground campus locations and two affiliate sites across the state, as well as an online global campus offering more than 40 academic program options for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learn more at www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.