Louisiana Culinary Institute’s Home Plate Classic XIV student competition concluded with Team Orange walking off with the bragging rights.
Members of the award-winning team are Phillip Romano, Port Allen; Charles Bell, New Orleans, Kaila Mogg-Stone, Slidell; and Caleb Melancon, Gonzales.
The competition, held Aug. 16, is modeled after the popular ‘Iron Chef’ cooking show on the Food Network.
The final phase of the annual contest matched Team Orange and Team Pink, both made up of budding young chefs. The competition centered around the peach as the mystery ingredient. The fruit had to be included in each dish.
According to “Food Lover’s Companion” the fragrant peach is native to China and is available from May to October in the United States. A major challenge was to balance the delicate peach flavor with more overpowering spices and aromas.
The competitors had to plan a meal and design the dishes, which included appetizer, soup, salad, entr ee and dessert. Everything had to be completed between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
In addition to the prestigious team award, two students were cited for Best of Show awards. Melancon of Team Orange created a savory roasted pork tenderloin by seasoning the pork in a peach juice and soy marinade then reducing the marinade sauce and adding a slight amount of cream.
Ben Tuminello, of Baton Rouge and member of Team Pink, designed a chilled carrot and peach gazpacho with raspberry vinaigrette and served with a touch of whipped cream with a mint sprig.
Among the judges were Barrett Meeks, sou chef at Galatoire’s; Chris Wadsworth, IPO Restaurant executive chef; and chef Jeffrey Oliveri, L’Auberge Baton Rouge. Winners were presented with awards from Mercer Cutlery along with the Home Plate award which will be displayed with awards from previous competitions.