Heights A team of students aims high to win the Student Team National Championship. By Frank Leake, CCC, CCE, AAC
IS IT IMPORTANT for a team
to win? Or is the goal to become a better
culinarian? As a team, you find it takes
more than just talent and practice. There
are certain basic tenets at play, and those
who are aware of them, win.
is the team’s success story, as told by Victor
Sommo, CEC, team coach.
The team became champions because of
their drive. In all honesty, there was never a
time when team members were not giving
it their all. As coaches, we can steer teams
in the right direction, and the rest is up to
A student team from State University of New
York (SUNY) at Delhi, Delhi, N. Y., dedicated
itself to perfect execution at the 2010 ACF
Student Team National Championship. In the
process, team members discovered what
competing is all about—and, at the same
time, gave their school a win.
How does it feel to be the 2010
Spending time with the team becomes
such an important part of your life, and
now that the process is over, it is kind of
saddening. Of course, it feels great to be
champions, but the road traveled to get
here was the most glorious part.
For the first time since ACF Chefs and
Cooks of the Catskill Mountains/SUNY
Delhi began competing in 2000, a team
earned a gold medal and won the ACF
Student Team National Championship at the
2010 ACF National Convention in Anaheim,
Calif., Aug. 2-5. Team members are Chase
Devine, Julie Hernandez, Kenneth Liranzo,
Joseph Michaud and Sarah Thurgood. Here
What made this a championship team?
The young men and women on this team
are a unique bunch, and the synergy they
have while cooking together is something
special indeed. The team did not develop
overnight; it came to fruition through
many hours of working and practicing
together. This team wanted to win, but
understood that to do so it would have to
produce food that could win undeniably.
The team achieved that goal at each level
How was the team selected, and
what was its practice schedule?
The process of choosing the team was a
daunting task that lasted about a month.
Members were selected not only for their
skill level, but also for their eagerness to
learn and improve, attitude and personality,
and the ability to work as a team. The
tryouts spanned the month of October
2009, and the members were announced
at our annual ACF competition.
Dave Smith Photographer
The team practiced officially three days
a week while preparing to compete at
the state and regional levels, and team
members practiced during their spare
time to perfect their skills. Fundraising