Monroe College’s Culinary Institute of New York Student Team Wins 2019 ACF Northeast Regional Championship; CINY Dean Named Northeast Regional Chef of the Year

Share Article

Latest accolade for student team marks third regional title in four years

Monroe College, a national leader in educating urban and international students, today announced that students from its Culinary Institute of New York (CINY) earned the American Culinary Federation (ACF) 2019 Student Team Northeast Regional Championship title. Additionally, longtime chef-educator and CINY Dean Dr. Frank C. Costantino was named ACF 2019 Northeast Regional Chef of the Year.

Both competitions took place from February 22-24 at Atlantic Cape Community College in Hamilton, New Jersey.

The Culinary Institute of New York student team has won four New York State championships in five years, and three regional championships in the past four years. At this year’s regional contest, the CINY team faced formidable competition from talented teams representing culinary institutions across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Over the course of two days, these teams were first challenged to participate in an 80-minute “relay-style” skills salon that requires team members to demonstrate mastery of four core skills (butchery of a whole chicken, fileting of any sole, various knife cuts, or preparation of a pastry cream).

The second day necessitates preparation of a four-course signature menu that incorporates a classic dish, as well as items produced during the prior skills salon. Having already prepared an impressive array of cold foods, the CINY team moved on to a winning hot food menu that featured:

  • Fish starter course – Sole Véronique – a classical dish featuring poached sole, butter sauce and peeled green grapes
  • Salad course – Petite spicy greens with New York State apples, compressed celery, Parmesan herb tuile, smoked Gouda and candied walnuts; served with an Angry Orchard rosé hard cider vinaigrette, warm onion and leek curd, and celery and green apple gel
  • Main course – Trio of chicken comprising chicken breast roulade, truffle- and foie gras-stuffed ballotine, and chicken shepherd’s pie; served with cranberry relish, wild mushroom sauce and wilted fall greens
  • Dessert course – Valrhona chocolate Grand Marnier tart with pistachio feulletine and pistachio crust; accompanied by citrus salad, vanilla bean and tangerine creamsicle

"The team is incredibly honored to have their hard work and talents recognized by the panel of judges, and looks forward to the opportunity to compete with other talented teams from across the country at Nationals this summer,” said Dr. Frank C. Costantino, Dean of Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Institute of New York. “Our students, united behind a common goal, have spent countless hours in the kitchen honing their technical skills and channeling their creativity in preparation for this competition. The other competitors were incredibly talented. We thank them for raising the bar and congratulate them on their strong seasons.”

The members of Monroe’s championship-winning team are Casey Creazzo (team captain) from West Milford, NJ;; Geannaby Hernandez from Bronx, NY; Joanna Parson from Paterson, NJ; Tyler Johns from Tuscon, AZ and Lilibeth Velazquez from Hawthorne, NJ. They were assisted throughout the competition by team alternate Tyler Johns (Tucson, AZ) as well as apprentices Ben Artuso (Scotch Plains, NJ); Gabriella Barreira (Roselle Park, NJ); Anthony Hopler (West Milford, NJ); John Nguyen (Glendale, AZ); Bailey Cadugan (Havertown, PA) and Jake Costantino (Warwick, NY). These budding student chefs have now earned the right to compete for the national title at the upcoming ACF National Convention, slated to take place from August 4-8 in Orlando.

Complementing the student team’s win, Dean Costantino also impressed judges by preparing a Mediterranean lamb dish, inspired by his Italian heritage, to secure the ACF Northeast Regional Chef of the Year title. He will now go on to compete for the prestigious U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™ award at the national convention in Orlando, where a panel of distinguished judges will determine the winner. The U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™ designation denotes an outstanding culinarian who has demonstrated the highest standard of culinary skills, advanced the cuisine of America and given back to the profession through the development of students and apprentices.

The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College is an award-winning, nationally recognized culinary institute that provides students with a combination of theoretical education and hands-on experience in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality management. With facilities designed to simulate the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, and large production operations, students receive personal instruction and mentorship from a faculty of ACF-certified chefs and experienced industry professionals who are committed to their success.

Since 2009, CINY has produced award-winning culinary teams, students, faculty and staff, as well as a critically acclaimed student-run restaurant, The Dining Lab, which was described as a "training ground for students" by The Wall Street Journal and the "little kitchen that could" by The New York Times. Monroe’s culinary program has won nearly 1,000 American Culinary Federation medals to date. More information, including admissions criteria, is available online.

Founded in 1933, Monroe College is a recognized leader in urban and international education. The College is proud of its innovative programs to increase college access, affordability, and completion outcomes, especially among first-generation students. The strength of its warm, supportive culture is reflected in the personal connections fostered among students, faculty, and staff.

Monroe educates close to 8,000 students each year, offering Certificate, Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs from campuses in the Bronx, New Rochelle, and St. Lucia. Students may also take courses online.

Programs are offered through seven academic schools, including the Schools of Allied Health Professions, Business & Accounting, Criminal Justice, Education, Hospitality Management and the Culinary Institute of New York (CINY), Information Technology, and Nursing, as well as through King Graduate School. Liberal arts and continuing education programs are also available. For more information and admissions criteria, please visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jacqueline Ruegger
Visit website