Written by Yi YeoJin
Chef Instructor/Farm to Table Coordinator
International Culinary Center®
Culinary Clash is a pretty long competition where students have been investing their time outside of class, from December 2017 to now.
Throughout this time lapse, a lot happens! There are preliminary cooking competitions to sub-sequential competitions that are both held here at ICC, CA. From there, I meet with each group multiple times to refine their menus. This is really the fun part for the students. They get to showcase their hard work, but pitch their own menu and get to run the course at their respective hotels for one night. Each team gets to taste a little of what it feels like to manage a kitchen. Hopefully, it shows them that it’s not just skill sets and talent but communication and working with a team that leads to success.
All the while, on their own time, they are constantly pushing themselves to represent something they are proud to serve their friends, family, and the judges table.
For me, I have a lot of fun seeing the development of these students. You can see them forming ownership of their menus and I have the responsibility of fostering their empowerment. By the time they nail their menus by practicing at school, they face another challenge which is going to a totally new kitchen and workspace to replicate what they have done at school..simultaneously, communicating with their partner and hotel Chef for delegating tasks and finding out where ingredients/equipment are!
I am asking a lot out of them, but I know they are all capable. I’ve been running these competitions at ICC for the past three years and each year we always have something noteworthy to look back on. This year doesn’t fall short either. Looking forward to another stressful, enduring, sweaty yet thrilling and exciting competition this year! Lookout for us in May at the Ultimate Clash in DC!
Check out the student-curated menus and teams for March 10 and March 11.
Nob Hill Club – Chef Selah Kendall and Sous Chef Andrae Gray (March 10)
MENU: Pork and shrimp wonton with mushroom and lemongrass tisane; Diver scallop with wilted dandelion green, bacon marmalade and pomegranate; Sesame crème brulee with Meyer lemon ice cream*
Selah Kendall has been cooking ever since she could reach the stove on a stool. She worked various jobs in the restaurant industry with her very first at a local pizza parlor in Montclair, New Jersey, where she answered the phone and took orders. Her biggest inspiration is her Great Aunt Jenne who was raised in Jamaica. She taught Selah her first skills in the kitchen and “how to cook with love.”
Watching his grandmothers and parents cook gave Andrae Gray a love and respect for cooking early on. “There is something about watching people’s eyes light up with total satisfaction when you serve them something so delicious and fulfilling. It’s a feeling that I got while watching family cook and I love seeing it on faces now.” Gray was born and raised in California’s Central Valley.
Luce – Chef Hannah Gomez and Sous Chef Molly Doster (March 11)
MENU: Hamachi Crudo; Prawn Enchilada a la Cubana; Blood Orange olive oil cake*
Currently enrolled in the ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program, Hannah Gomez brings with her a degree in entrepreneurial management and two years of running her own business to the kitchen. Born and raised in the Philippines, she always had a passion for cooking, learning from her mother, relatives and friends.
Born and raised on a farm in Iowa, Molly Doster’s journey to the International Culinary Center began in the home kitchen. “I am one of six children, which lent itself to cooking both volumes and varieties. My mom encouraged me to give the culinary field a look.” Molly is inspired by chefs including Argentina’s Francis Mallmann and hopes to one day own and operate a restaurant or bed and breakfast on her family farm.
*menus are subject to change
When: Remaining dates at Nob Hill Club at InterContinental Mark Hopkins and Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco are as follows:
- Saturdays – March 10 and 17 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Nob Hill Club at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins (One Nob Hill); for reservations contact Joanna Carrasco at 415-616-6940 or Carrasco@IHG.com.
- Sundays – March 11, 18, and 25 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco (888 Howard Street); for reservations contact Luce at 415-616-6566, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Openable.