A Joliet Junior College culinary arts professor helped his American Culinary Federation team score two silver medals at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg last month.
Chef Andy Chlebana was one of nine to compete for Team USA and spent 10 days in Luxembourg for the competition, according to a news release.
Although preparation for the cup typically takes months, Chlebana had only six weeks because he was substituting for another team member. He was able to enlist the help of some JJC culinary students to practice.
The first part of the competition involved a cold buffet table presentation, which consisted of a variety of six desserts, petits fours and a chocolate showpiece. The cold food presentation was detailed work, and the judges scored on perfection. Points were deducted for anything out of place.
“The crazy part about cold food is that you are awake through the entire night before perfecting your plates and completing any last minute projects,” Chlebana said. “Then we head back to the hotel, sleep a little and start preparing for the hot kitchen.”
The hot kitchen segment of the competition consisted of a three-course menu with 110 portions each. The team had to prepare their food while the judges watched for
six hours and were then given three hours to serve the food.
Team USA took home the silver medals in both competitions among about 30 other countries. Chlebana said he enjoyed the experience and hoped to bring lessons back to share with his students.
“The greatest benefit for me is that I learn during the process and can bring some of the tricks and techniques into my classes,” he said.
“The students enjoy hearing the stories I share.”
Besides teaching his students, Chlebana is a frequent guest on television shows on networks like the Food Channel, has written a textbook called the “Advanced Art of Baking & Pastry” and participated in the Herald-News’ Whisking It Up with JJC video series, in which he showed how easy it is to make chocolate truffles.