Foods prepared for a culinary salon competition are meant to be seen, not eaten. Once cooked, all the foods were glazed with aspic, a clear gelatin, so a panel of three professional chefs could judge the 30 entries and members of the public could see the entries later.
In a salon culinary competition, the idea is to show off the food and the technical skills of a cook, said White. Although some salons feature food tasting for the public before the actual competition, most salons feature only displays of foods.
"It's our way of promoting the culinary arts and interest in culinary apprenticeship programs," said White.
Featured as part of the college's 20th anniversary celebration last year, the competition was held again on Sunday for the college's Fun Fest, an annual event sponsored by the college to highlight community activities and the college itself.
The local chapter, which is made up of food educators and chefs from Burlington and Camden Counties, sponsored the salon to draw attention to community college chef apprentice programs, said White.
"Institutions like Johnson & Wales and the Culinary Institute of America that train chefs are fine, but not everyone is able to go to those places," said White. "There are other alternatives for students wishing to be certified as chefs."
Burlington County College started a three-year chef apprentice program in September that combined classroom courses with paid work at local restaurants, said White. Upon successful conclusion of the program, students will be certified as cooks by the American Culinary Federation.
(Although cooks do not have to be certified to work in the food-service industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recognized the St. Augustine, Fla.-based federation as the certifying agent for culinary students who wish to advance themselves in the food industry. The levels of certification are cook, chef, executive chef and master chef. In addition, there is a teacher certification.)
Students from area vocational schools as well as professional chefs were invited to compete in the community college salon that featured four categories: Cold food, hot food displayed cold, restaurant category and pastry category.
His entree selections - sauteed duckling breast, poached stuffed squid and sauteed roulade of chicken breast - won the grand prize for 22-year-old Joseph Biazzo 3d of Pennsauken. He has been a chef at the Phoenix Room at Garden State Park for five months.
Named as best novice was Timothy Lamplugh, 19, of Medford, who won for his entree platters in the hot food served cold division. He is now a chef at the Phoenix Room after starting there three years ago as a dishwasher.
"Someday, Joe and I want to start our own restaurant together," said Lamplugh after learning he had won a medal in the first competition he had entered.
Marjorie Orlowski of Browns Mills won the special judges' award, while Jeff Severino and Veronica Starr, both of Mount Holly, won a medal for the best piece in show, a centerpiece of a elephant, giraffe and lion sculpted in salt dough. Severino and Starr, who said it took them nearly two weeks to complete the animal sculpture, are cooks at the Cherry Hill Hyatt.
Those who were disappointed that they were not able to taste the food are invited to come back in September, said White.
What is now an empty classroom next to the cafeteria will be turned into a restaurant to train culinary arts students.
"It's part of our new program to train chefs, and we're in the process of building a full restaurant kitchen and pastry shop for them to use," said White. "The restaurant will be a cooking classroom, and with training, our students will be able to cook the kinds of foods now on display. It (the restaurant) will be open to the public, and we invite everyone to come."