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A gold medal for the Skidmore community

January 17, 2024
by Tory Abbott

Skidmore鈥檚 award-winning Dining Services team has taken home gold in the 10th annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) Conference and Competition, marking Skidmore鈥檚 eighth gold medal at the event

Nine teams from six different states participated in the 鈥淐hopped鈥-style competition held on Jan. 12 in Skidmore鈥檚 Murray-Aikins Dining Hall.  

The Professional Chefs of New Hampshire, The University of Massachusetts, and Skidmore鈥檚 team all received gold medals. Other competitors were Princeton University, Middlebury College, Rochester Institute of Technology, State University of New York Geneseo, Cornell University, and Wee Burn Country Club.鈥 

Skidmore鈥檚 talented Dining Services team has achieved wide recognition, including a No. 5 ranking for Best College Food in New York in 2024 from based on meal plan costs and student reviews.  

鈥淚鈥檓 proud of our Skidmore team and this achievement. But it鈥檚 not just about winning 鈥 I'm proud of the work that we do and meals we serve every day to our students,鈥 said Director of Dining Services Mark Miller. 鈥淚 think all the chefs that traveled to Skidmore for this experience are going to walk away with a really positive impression of the College and our community here.鈥 

As part of the competition, chefs were required to prepare a three-course menu and buffet platter by utilizing ingredients in a 鈥渕arket basket鈥 provided to each team. The teams had an hour and a half to develop the menu and then several hours to prepare and serve the dishes.鈥疉 panel of six professional chefs were assembled to be judges at the event. 

For Skidmore鈥檚 team and other members of the Skidmore community, the win held a deeper meaning: Skidmore鈥檚 executive chef of 18 years, Jim Rose, is retiring this year.  

鈥淐hef Rose is one of the driving forces behind organizing this event and in helping us train for it, so we鈥檙e really glad to have this win in his honor,鈥 Miller said.  

Executive Chef Jim Rose walks into the Atrium, smiling with his arms outstretched.

After 18 years of steadfast dedication to the College, Executive Chef Jim Rose will retire later this year.

Skidmore鈥檚 team this year was a mix of old and new faces; Michael Hinrichs, who was hired as production manager by the College last year and who will be taking over Rose鈥檚 position, served as team leader. Other Skidmore team members were cooks Matt Palmer, Pat Ives, and Chris McGilpin. All have represented the College at similar competitions in the past, but this was their first time competing together. 

鈥淚t鈥檚 fun to be able to show off your skills at an event like this with so many other talented chefs. It's always a good learning experience. It's nice to have this opportunity to make something a bit more elevated, to really show off what we can do,鈥 commented Ives. 

A key portion of the judges鈥 criteria, along with the originality, taste, and presentation of the food, was the ability of each team to work together seamlessly. Luckily for Hinrichs, Palmer, Ives, and McGilpin, this community-minded approach came naturally. 

鈥淲e鈥檙e used to working together, but the competition provides us with a special opportunity to get to know each other as individuals by working in a different setting. It helps us grow as a team,鈥 said Hinrichs, who kicked off the three-day event by demonstrating his ice-carving talents. 

Production Manager Michael Hinrichs, who joined Skidmore in 2023, plates the team's appetizer, pan roasted bronzini.

Production Manager Michael Hinrichs, who joined Skidmore in 2023, plates the team's appetizer, Pan-roasted Bronzini.

With many more competitions on the horizon and plenty of other creative opportunities for Skidmore鈥檚 talented chefs to flex their skills, it鈥檚 clear that the future of Dining Services will be in good hands. 

鈥淲orking at the College, I've seen a lot of changes over the years, but the value we place on community at Skidmore stays consistent. It's a good place to work 鈥 I鈥檝e felt that way since I started 18 years ago. When I came to the College I thought, 鈥榃ow, you really are appreciated,鈥欌 reflected Chef Rose. 鈥淪uch a big part of working together successfully is having a good leader. I think Michael has done an exceptional job with that. And these competitions are not easy, but I've got a great staff. I'm fortunate that we have a lot of talent behind the scenes.鈥 

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