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Bragging Rights on the Line During Academy of Culinary Arts’ Iron Student Competition

05/01/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
The 2023 winning team of the Iron Student Chef Competition

MAYS LANDING — Culinary creativity, nerves of steel and teamwork under pressure were on full display as Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts held its 17th Annual Iron Student Chef competition on April 28 at Careme’s, the student-run gourmet restaurant on the Mays Landing campus.

Begun by the Culinary Student Association as a way for students to display their creativity, this in-house competition allows the burgeoning chefs to showcase their talents and come away with bragging rights. About one month prior to the event the students are given three possible secret ingredients from which to devise their respective dishes. This year’s ingredients were dragon fruit, persimmon and mango. Fifteen minutes prior to each team’s starting time, a secret ingredient is divulged and then culinary ideas are turned into reality.

Judges Chef Anthony Todaro and Chef Josh Romano tasting the student culinary creationsThe students were grouped into six teams of four participants each. Judging the team’s culinary creations were Chef Anthony Todaro, corporate executive chef with RC Fine Foods and Chef Josh Romano, owner, Cafe Loren in Avalon.

This year’s gold medal winning team of Michael Licari, Noah Johnson, Cole Perfetti and Ethan Szymanski created Tuna Mango Tartare, Curried Mango and Flounder Soup, Mango and White Chocolate Mousse Parfait.

In second place, the team of Gina Gleason-Diaz, Kaylee Rivera, Anthony Collalti and Janell Canion received silver medals for cooking up Mango Chicken Kabobs with Rice and Mango Salsa, Garden Salad with Mango Vinaigrette and Mango Chocolate Tiramisu.

Taking third place and receiving bronze medals, the team of Amber Devine, Maggi Smith, Zachary Martin and Caroline Muhlbaier made Mango Yogurt Waldorf Salad, Shrimp and Mango Curry with Coconut Rice, and Mango Sorbet with Shortbread.

Student chef intently eyeing her culinary creationChef Educator Vincent Tedeschi has helped oversee this exciting competition since its inception.

“I tried to make sure that the secret ingredients were interchangeable, have a similar texture and were tropical this year,” said Tedeschi, who was assisted this year by culinary student associates Noelle Booye and Jocelyn Caceres. “This event helps the students showcase their talents more so than just the everyday in the kitchen practical assessments that they do.”

Culinary students enjoy a laugh during the Iron Student competitionThree others teams received certificates for their culinary contributions and participation: Jamie Callan, Elvis Rodriguez, Jared Denicola and Marina Kebalo who created Shrimp Tempura with Mango Habanero Sauce, Mumbai Mango Chutney with Coconut Basmati and Mango Cream Kuchen; Julio Gomez IV, Lola Sarni and William Fence who created Mango Shrimp Ceviche, Miso Seared Scallops with Mango Beurre Blanc and Deconstructed Mango Cheesecake; and Felixia McDowell, Brittany Bates, Tatiana Matos and Trista Popowski who created Mango and Strawberry Roulade, Mango Pineapple Shortcake, and Mango Ice Cream and Coconut Crumble.

Learn more about the Academy of Culinary Arts at



About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.