Local students win Knowledge Bowl national title

(Courtesy photo) From left are Muskegon Community College students Stanley Mersino, Spring Lake; Camryn Potter, Zeeland; chef instructor Amanda Miller; Rachelle Murphy, Grand Haven; and Kate Strauss, Grand Haven.

MUSKEGON — A team of students from Muskegon’s Culinary Institute of Michigan, a division of Baker College, won the 2019 American Culinary Federation Knowledge Bowl National Championship.

The team of four student chefs, all from West Michigan, earned the culinary institute’s first-ever Knowledge Bowl national title at the competition finals held Aug. 7 in Orlando, Florida.

The winning team members were Stanley Mersino (Baking & Pastry) of Spring Lake, Rachelle Murphy (Food & Beverage Management) of Grand Haven, Camryn Potter (Baking & Pastry) of Zeeland and Kate Strauss (Culinary Arts) of Grand Haven.

They were coached by chef instructor Amanda Miller.

Formally known as the ACF Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, the competition includes multiple rounds of a “Jeopardy” style trivia competition with questions covering topics such as nutrition, baking, culinary math, safety and sanitation, and the arts of classical and modern cooking.

“They absolutely crushed the opposition … our team never lost a round. In my 32 years being involved with the ACF, I have never seen such a dominating win at the national championship,” said Chef Tom Recinella, Baker College’s Dean of Culinary. “It really speaks to the dedication and devotion of their coach in preparing them, as well as their own drive and focus. This is a real feather in our cap here at the CIM.”

To earn the school’s first-ever ACF Knowledge Bowl National Championship, the CIM team bested regional competition winners from culinary schools in Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.

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