SUNY Delhi wins First International Culinary Competition Milestone

DELHI, NY (06/06/2016)(readMedia)-- SUNY Delhi's culinary team won the Copa Culinaria Mundial Junior representing the United States in Costa Rica this week. Team Delhi earned gold medals in both the hot and cold food categories to earn its first victory in international competition.

"Winning an international competition represents a major milestone for the SUNY Delhi Culinary Arts program," said Dr. David Brower, SUNY Delhi Interim Provost. "I am so proud of the effort put forth by the team and their coaches. The focus, drive, and determination of the team and their coaches was exceptional and exemplifies the caliber of education students receive at SUNY Delhi. This win will open countless doors for the students and will help them secure employment after graduation."

Delhi's five-member team competed against Costa Rica, Bahamas, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. This opportunity was made possible due to a longstanding relationship between SUNY Delhi and American Culinary Federation Chef Louis Perrotte.

Each team was required to create a three-course meal, 12 portions each, in two and half hours. Portions were sampled by judges from all over the world who determined the first, second and third place winners.

Delhi's team vigorously practiced 35-40 hours weekly since late February, according to Chef Sean Pehrsson, who coached the team with Chef James Margiotta. Pehrsson explained that the competition took place in the Centro De Eventos Pedregal in San Jose where temperatures can rise into the 80s with humidity over 80 percent in June, making the competition even more difficult.

Delhi's team members include Parris Sewer of Elmont (captain), Sakari Smithwick of Amityville, Thomas Downey of Goshen, Alex Johnson of Herkimer, and Oboseoye Ojeaga of New York City who served as the team's apprentice. Ojeaga ensured that the team worked smoothly, completed dishes on time, and provided constructive feedback to teammates to guarantee continuous improvement.

The student chefs created a menu that represented the indigenous foods of America, many of which have been sourced from Delaware County. The menu included an appetizer of shrimp roulade in a Newburg sauce with a corn sponge, hush puppies and succotash. The entrée was a duo of beef-a cast iron-seared New York strip and a braised short rib-with bourbon barbecue sauce and a port-infused demi-glace accompanied by a mushroom spinach cup, mushroom flutes, carrot-apple puree, and a vegetable medley. The dessert was a peanut-banana mousse with a chocolate glaze accompanied by a Concord grape sorbet, peanut butter financiers and mixed fruit. "It's a riff off of peanut butter and jelly," added Sewer who originated the recipe.

In addition to the excitement of winning on the world stage, SUNY Delhi's culinary team will be featured nationally on cable television in an episode of the Food Network's "Farmhouse Rules" with Nancy Fuller.

The team's participation in Copa Culinaria is generously supported by funds donated by Maple Leaf Farms of Leesburg, Ind.

SUNY Delhi's Culinary Arts programs offer graduates a firm foundation from which to start their careers as professionals. Students can choose from a variety of specialized courses depending on their interest or direction in the field, including advanced meat cutting, culinary competition, advanced pastries and confections, and culinary sculpting, a course in which students learn to sculpt 300-pound ice blocks made in the campus lab. A capstone course, Signatures by Candlelight, gives students the experience of operating a full-service, fine dining restaurant that is open to the public.

Culinary Arts is part of SUNY Delhi's award-winning Hospitality Management Department. Delhi offers two- and four-year degree programs in Hotel and Resort Management, Restaurant and Foodservice Management, Event Management, and Culinary Arts.

The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning 225 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeships and programmatic accreditation.

For more information about SUNY Delhi's Culinary Arts program, visit