Cooking for the gold

Culinary Arts salon team takes home seven gold medals


Photo courtesy of Culinary Arts

The Salon team consists of (left to right) Maddie Grupa, Bella Breazeale, Mason Cochran, Cameron Aramia, and Master Chef Drew Sayes as head coach. 

Logan DuCharme, Staff Writer

Pride. Challenge. Achievement. 

On March 17,  the Schoolcraft Culinary Arts Salon team showed just that with dedication, teamwork and what a fierce competitive spirit can accomplish winning seven gold medals at the Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association (MCCA) “Cook Like You Mean It” classic competition held at Dorsey College. 

The Salon team consists of Bella Breazeale, Cameron Aramia, Maddie Grupa, Mason Cochran, with Master Chef Drew Sayes as head coach.  The categories completed in were, SW- knife skills and SK- cooking. Three out of the four students prepared their own dish for the SK category, they have been developing these dishes over the past couple months. 

“Whenever I coach students I take the approach that I am coaching professionals, so I want them to cook and execute on a professional level in terms of skills and expertise,” said Sayes.

As a result, every student on the team blew away the competition with their skills and talents with each student bringing home a gold medal. 

Grupa won a gold in the SW Knife (SW) Skills portion of the competition as well as another gold medal in the cooking portion of the competition with her seared duck breast with foie gras and duck sausage, royal trumpet mushrooms, creamed sunchokes, glazed haricot vert, citrus port and wine jus.

“I had a tough time with this one. I got in my own head but hearing the voices of my team really pushed me on when I won. They were overjoyed for me. They were really proud of me and it’s fueling me more for the next one,” said Grupa.

Cochran earned two golds as well both in the SW skills and with his dish a pan roasted turbot with butter poached potatoes, melted leeks, English peas, pea puree, blood orange salad and smoked trout roe beurre blanc. 

Next came Aramian who won a gold medal in the SK skills category.

Finally came Breazeale with her seared branzino with an asparagus & pea filled cappelletti, braised fennel, glazed spring vegetables with a fennel cream sauce and onion chip. This dish amazed the judges and earned Breazeale a perfect score.

“There should never be a moment where we are asking ‘what should I do next?’ it’s all rehearsed like we are performing a surgery. Surgical precision is the best thing you can do with this.”

With a total of seven gold medals between the four team members, expectations are high for the future.

“I’m not going to take my foot off the gas just because I got a 100 on this one,” said Breazeale. “I know I’m probably not going to get another 100 anytime soon, or ever, but I’m going to push for it: try as hard as you can, do your best, that’s what I say to motivate myself.”

With this confidence, Schoolcraft is sure to cook up more winners in the future, but for now, these recipients will continue honing their craft.