Meridian Star

April 10, 2013

EMCC Culinary Arts team 'Top Chefs' for third consecutive year

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     RAYMOND – For the third year in a row, East Mississippi Community College prepared the state’s best dish under pressure.

    The EMCC Culinary Arts team of Quintin Hall and Joey Hansford, both of Starkville, took top honors Feb. 12 at the Mississippi Collegiate DECA Culinary Arts Competition in Raymond. During the timed competition, the pair was asked to conceive a recipe using a meat (pork chops) revealed at the beginning of the contest, prepare one meal large enough to serve six customers, use less than $15 worth of ingredients per individual and develop a marketing strategy for the meal.

     “They were judged on a long list of criteria,” said Dr. Linda Farrar, instructor for EMCC’s Hotel & Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts programs. “The judges looked at sanitation and preparation methods, plate garnishing, profit margin based on food price, how easily the recipe could be replicated. Then Quintin and Joey had to explain to the judges how they would test the item’s profitability. Even pricing psychology, such as the item’s placement on a menu page and visual representation.”

A second EMCC team comprised of first-time competitors Arica Jackson of West Point and Angelina Rios of Starkville placed fifth in the competition.

    “The judges looked for (Jackson and Rios) after the competition and told them they had the best risotto they had ever tasted,” said Farrar. “The judges asked for the recipe.”

    Winning the state DECA culinary arts competition has become a habit for Farrar’s culinary teams. Hansford was a member of EMCC’s 2012 State DECA first place winners.

    “I do the best I can to prepare our students in the classroom, but it’s their ingenuity and creativity and what they do with that preparation that makes the difference,” said Farrar. “And the same talent that wins them and wins EMCC these competitions is what helps them get ahead in the industry.”

    Hansford is currently working as the executive chef with Sodexo food services at EMCC’s Scooba campus while completing the requirements for his degree. Eric Stewart, a member of EMCC’s 2011 Culinary DECA first place team is the executive chef at Harvey’s in Tupelo, a restaurant that posted $3.5 million in sales last year.

    EMCC’s Hotel & Restaurant Management program also had limited success at Mississippi Collegiate DECA competition – which extends to other career-technical programs including culinary arts – in March in Tupelo.

    Courtney Martin of Alabaster, Ala., finished third in Professional Sales. Santana Brewer of Crawford finished third in Hotel and Lodging Management. Jamie Reeves of Columbus finished third in Restaurant and Food Service Management.

    Rebecca Lott of Starkville earned a first place finish in Marketing Management for EMCC’s Business & Marketing program.