Voila! Culinary arts student qualifies for national competition

04.04.2016 | By Rob Vanya

From left, San Jacinto College students who participated in the recent Chaine Des Rotisseurs regional contest include Giselly Flores, Jamison Bishop, and Maria Martinez. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

 

HOUSTON — Three San Jacinto College culinary arts students excelled at a recent regional chef competition, with one winning first place to qualify to compete at the national level.

The regional contest, held in Houston, was called the Jeunes Chef Competition, sponsored by Chaine Des Rotisseurs, one of the oldest international culinary associations in history, and headquartered in Paris.

San Jacinto College students Giselly Flores and Maria Martinez earned bronze medals at the regional contest, and Jamison Bishop took home the gold medal, finishing as the lone first-place winner. Bishop will consequently face off against chefs from all over America when he participates in the national Jeunes Chefs Rotisseurs Competition to be held in Sarasota, Florida in June.

San Jacinto College was the only public college to participate in the regional contest. Other contestants were from Mark’s American Cuisine, an upscale Houston restaurant, and Vin 48, an upscale restaurant and wine bar in Avon, Colorado.

The national competition will be a “blind” (also called “mystery basket”) contest. A fully-stocked kitchen will be provided, and contestants will be given six mystery items and required to use 50 percent of each item to create three courses: an appetizer, and entree, and a dessert. Contestants will have 30 minutes after seeing the mystery basket to create a menu, then three hours to cook, and 30 minutes to plate the meal.

The regional competition also included “mystery basket” regulations. Chefs were required to make three courses (appetizer, entree, and dessert) in a four-hour span. They were given six items: two Cornish game hens, a pork tender loin, two chayote squash gourds, two artichokes, four ounces of red lentils, and four ounces of cabbage kim chi. They were required to use at least 50 percent of each item.

In his gold medal performance that won the regional contest, Bishop pulled out all the stops to create an epicurean masterpiece. “I breaded the pork tender loin and served it over a puree of the squash as my appetizer,” he explained. “I blackened and frenched the game hen thighs, served it over the red lentils, which I cooked using the risotto method, and made a cream sauce using the cabbage kim chi. My dessert was an artichoke and lemon-infused pastry cream that I piped onto the leaves of the artichoke and topped with Chantilly cream.”

And voila! The judges were very impressed.

Bishop, who lives in Pearland, plans to earn an associate culinary arts degree from San Jacinto College next spring. His plans after graduation are undecided. “I’m torn between traveling around the country and possibly the world to learn new styles of cooking, and simply to travel, as it has always been a dream of mine,” he commented. “Or, I might stay in Houston and work in gourmet restaurants that offer high-end cuisine. The outcome of the national competition might determine which path I choose. Either way, my passion is to cook and learn all I can about the culinary world, and that is what I will be doing.”

Bishop’s ultimate career goal is to be a restaurant owner. “I have yet to decide on the style of food or location, as those decisions are quite a way in the future,” he said. “Regardless of what I pursue, I plan on traveling and increasing my skills as chef everywhere I go.”

Participating in competitions sponsored by a prestigious international association opens doors of opportunities for students, according to Tim Banks, culinary arts program director at the San Jacinto College North Campus. “Student success is nurtured by providing participation in extracurricular events,” Banks commented. “Competition strengthens skills and students learn about multi-tasking and playing by the rules. A structured, nationally-recognized competition provides connections with industry leaders.”

To learn more about culinary arts options at San Jacinto College, please visit sanjac.edu/career/culinaryrestaurant-management.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.