Culinary students win HCAT awards


Thea Baumann, baking and pastry arts student, tests a cake with a toothpick to see if it’s fully baked.

Alex Fregger, Daily Reporter

Four AACC culinary students won medals at a competition that took place at Monroe College in New York in December.

Out of the estimated thirty students who competed in the competition, all four AACC students received awards.

Students Stuart Barnes and Kayoko Olson won bronze medals, while Katie Dashiell and Thea Baumann won gold.

Third-year baking and pastry arts student Thea Baumann made a two layered pavlovas—a dessert with a meringue shell and creamy filling—the first with a pistachio mousse filling, a cranberry chutney in-between and the top merengue with an eggnog ganache.

“My dish was inspired by colors, and from the colors, I then created the flavors, and then from there I went on to compose the composition of the dish,” Baumann said.

Baumann also said the colors she picked were based on the green, white and red Italian flag and the flavors of pistachio, eggnog and cranberry on the Christmas season.

Baumann added she had spent months working on the dessert in the kitchen before bringing the recipe to the competition.

“It’s stiff competition up there, Monroe is a very strong program. Our students worked very hard and their hard work paid off,” said chef Virginia Olson, an AACC pastry instructor.

Baumann said the competition was very meaningful for her “because it’s a lot more about the connection and interaction with the people more so than the dessert itself. The dessert is really just the avenue I’ve been given to express my ideas on love and our connection to one another.”