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JCCC Stories

JCCC culinary team to compete for national spot

January 16, 2018


Students on the road to culinary Olympic gold

Photo courtesy of McKenzie Nelson, 41 Action News

These Olympics don’t include running the 40-yard dash in seconds, but they do involve creating a four-course meal in 90 minutes. For the second time, a Johnson County Community College culinary team will be one of four teams at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Youth Culinary Team USA 2020 Tryouts. The winner of that competition this summer in New Orleans will represent the U.S. at the IKA/Culinary Olympics, the largest exhibition of culinary art in the world, in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2020.

Team turns up the heat

JCCC team members include Elijah Luck (Captain), Melissa Dodd, Katie Barkley, Charlotte McCale and Torian Jenkins and coach Edward Adel, Associate Professor of Hospitality Management. The team was selected to represent the central region for its skill at creating a four-course meal for four people in 90 minutes.

The youth team is the junior portion — for students no older than 24 by April 1, 2020 — of the ACF Culinary Team USA competition, and is part of Team USA’s three-tiered structure that includes four regional teams and the national competition. If JCCC’s team moves forward after nationals, this would be its second time to represent the U.S. in Germany. The first time was under John Joyce in 2000.

Chef team in it to win it

To prepare for being judged, several Team USA chefs came in to work with JCCC’s team. “This is a great opportunity for our students,” Adel said. “They get to work alongside nationally recognized chefs and learn things they never could have in a classroom. It’s an experience they’ll take forward into their career for the rest of their lives.”

Three other regions from across the U.S. will select their representative team during the first few months of 2018. Each team consists of five people — four participants and an alternate — as well as a coach. Based on performance, a runner-up team may be selected as an apprentice to the national team.

Tryouts at the national competition take two days. On the first day, students have eight hours to complete a cold buffet platter for eight people consisting of three proteins, three garnishes and a salad, along with four finger foods (two hot and two cold) for six people. On the second day of competition, the teams have four hours to complete a three-course menu consisting of a hot appetizer, entrée and dessert for 20 people.

You Could Compete

To find out how you can pursue your dream of putting your culinary skills to the test, email Carol Sparks or call her at 913-469-8500, ext. 3626.