National competition was ‘great experience,’ SICE student says

We’re very proud of SICE student Megan Garstecki’s strong showing in the recent S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition!

Garstecki, from St. Joseph, and coach Sasha Ahmed traveled to SD26 restaurant in New York City for the Northeast regional competition. Garstecki drew the “first-up” position, which meant that she had to prepare her dish first.

“She did exceptionally well,” said SICE program director Dan Gendler. “Her plates were actually featured the most in the photos because of their precision and beauty.”

Gendler said Garstecki’s score would have meant a silver medal in an American Culinary Federation competition, but only first-place winners in the five regional rounds advance to the national S. Pellegrino competition next month in Napa Valley, Calif.

Representing SICE in competition was exciting, Garstecki said.

“I got to meet so many amazing and talented chefs from New York City as well as other culinary schools that competed,” she said. “I was proud of the plate I presented to the judges, and I can’t wait to compete again.

“It was a great experience that gave me confidence in the kitchen as well as practice being in a competition kitchen setting. I was also amazed at the outpouring of support from the community!”

Garstecki is pursuing a culinary management degree at SICE and plans to graduate next year. She then plans to get a degree in certified dietary management at Ferris State University with the goal of becoming a dietician in either a hospital or nursing home.

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