Kendall College Student Takes S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Title
Kendall sets record for most wins in the competition’s history
CHICAGO, March 16, 2011 –Kendall College student Marco Bahena has been named the winner of the 9TH annual S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® competition held in Napa Valley, Calif. This is the third win for a Kendall College student, setting the record for the school with the most wins in the event’s history. Bahena, a 21-year old student at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, takes home $13,000, winning $10,000 for the Almost Famous Chef competition and another $3,000 for his winning signature dish, Mediterranean Lamb Loin. Bahena will also get a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity – a year-long paid apprenticeship with the participating chef judge of his choice.
“We are all so very proud of Marco,” said Christopher Koetke, executive director of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts. “Watching him compete and win was truly exciting. Marco has tremendous talent and I look forward to watching his career soar.”
The event was hosted by Gail Simmons, Food & Wine special projects director and Bravo’s “Top Chef” judge and host, and Ralph Pagano, executive chef at STK Miami, finalist from “Hell’s Kitchen,” season one, and host of the internationally broadcast travel show, “Pressure Cook.”
“I am thrilled to be the winner, especially selected by this amazing panel of judges,” said Marco Bahena. “Not only was it an incredible experience competing against nine really talented competitors, but also to be mentored by such a talented group of chef and media judges for the weekend – I couldn’t have asked for a better jump-start to my career.”
Judging the three days of fierce competition were a panel of celebrity chefs and media: chefs Michel Richard of Citronelle, Rick Moonen of rm Seafood, Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia, Jean Joho of Everest, Gary Danko of Gary Danko Restaurant, Brooke McDougall of ByMark Restaurant and Napa’s own, Bob Hurley. The chefs were joined by an elite group of media: Dana Cowin of Food & Wine Magazine, Sophie Gayot of Gayot.com, Mitchell Davis of The James Beard Foundation and Bonnie Stern of The National Post.
“It is awe-inspiring to be included among this group of judges and witness firsthand the up-and-coming talent in our industry,” said Tony Mantuano. “While Marco took the top prize, I can easily see any of the other nine competitors having long culinary careers, and I anticipate eating in one of their restaurants someday. This competition fosters developing mentoring relationships between current chefs and the next generation of talent, and being part of that is really rewarding.”
For more information on the competition and to view Marco’s biography and winning recipe, visit www.almostfamouschef.com, www.thesparklinglife.com, become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/almostfamouschef) or follow the competition on Twitter at AFChefComp.
About Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts
Kendall College, founded in 1934, is located in Chicago, Illinois. Kendall offers undergraduate degrees in business, culinary arts, early childhood education and hospitality management to a diverse and passionate community of more than 2500 students. The curriculum combines strong academics with practical experience and international educational opportunities that help give students in business, hospitality, and culinary arts programs the skills and expertise to be leaders in their professions. The School of Culinary Arts is one of the leading culinary training programs in the United States. The school offers associate and bachelor’s degrees and certificates in the culinary arts as well as an associate degree and certificate in baking and pastry. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts associate program since 1988 and the Baking and Pastry associate program since 2008. Kendall College, a member of the Laureate International Universities network, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), www.ncahlc.org.
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