Culinary program savors success


Dennis DaytonStark State culinary arts student Dennis Dayton recently competed in an American Culinary Federation-sanctioned cooking competition at the Nestle test kitchens in Solon. Dennis finished just one point shy of medaling in the student category in the hot food division.

“The one-hour time limit is difficult for both students and professionals,” said Jeff McKenna, SSC culinary arts instructor. “Dennis completed his two entree plates with one minute to spare and showed a tremendous amount of poise and professionalism.” Certified judges, including one of the few certified master chefs in the country, critiqued the work and food, providing valuable input and encouragement.

The competition, regulated by the American Culinary Federation, included up to 30 competitors or teams, both students and professionals, from across the region. “This is a very intense and intimidating competition format,” McKenna said. “Dennis represented both the culinary program and Stark State very well. I was proud to be involved as his instructor. He gained valuable knowledge and experience for himself and opened many doors for other Stark State Culinary students in the future.”

“Dennis’ hard work and dedication exhibit the quality instruction and success our culinary program is having both in the kitchen and in the classroom,” said Dan Fuline, chair of the business management department. The culinary program has grown consistently since it was reintroduced fall semester 2012, with more than 150 students enrolled. Classes are offered in the ATC building on campus, with a daytime schedule now offered along with an evening schedule.