The Taste of the World Chef Conference, UMass’ yearly gathering of top culinarians in university dining from all over the country (and Canada), culminates with the cooking competition.
For the fourth year in a row, UMass Dining took the gold, with head judge Nobel Masi praising the craftsmanship on the plates and the “clean, nice balance of flavor.”
The winning four-course meal consisted of Alaskan crusted cod topped with herb mousse and shrimp stuffed zucchini blossoms with blood orange beurre, fennel salad dressed with a citrus vinaigrette, wild mushroom stuffed chicken, chicken rillettes with chive potato puree, snap peas and ginger glazed carrots. Dessert was nut-crustin tarte tatin with blueberry and pomegranate reduction topped with craime fraiche.
UMass chefs Anthony Jung, Robert Bankert, Taylor Whitmore and pastry chef Simon Stevenson made up the winning team.
Teams of chefs from schools such as Harvard, University of Connecticut, Penn State, University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan also competed.
“We are proud of the accomplishments of the culinary team; their work reflects highly on our program,” says Ken Toong, executive director of UMass Auxiliary Enterprises, adding that the winning dishes will be offered on a menu soon.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the UMass Taste of the World Chef Conference, an event developed to accelerate foodservice concepts and trends into the college world with a focus on health, sustainability, and food ethics.
Featured presenters at this year’s conference included author-journalist-activist Michael Pollan, chef/food and wine expert John Ash, celebrity chef and college collaborator Jet Tila and Mai Pham, a celebrity chef who is also found on many campuses through her Star Ginger program.