It was a relatively close competition this
year, with the frontrunners being Kendall
College, Chicago, representing the Central
Region, and Westmoreland County
Community College (WCCC), Youngwood,
Pa., representing the Northeast Region.
Also competing were the Culinary Institute
of Savannah at Savannah Technical College,
Savannah, Ga., representing the Southeast
Region, and ACF Pikes Peak Chapter Inc.,
students from Pikes Peak Community
College, Colorado Springs, Colo., representing
the Western Region.
2011 Knowledge Bowl champions, second from left to right, Jacob Clara, Paige Rogers,
Gabriele Ausraite, Jacqueline Wallner, captain, Robert Baki and Dina Altieri, coach, are
congratulated by David Holloway, far left, representing American Technical Publishers, the
Knowledge Bowl’s sponsor.
The teams were faced with some tough
questions, and from the start it was clear
that this competition would go down to the
wire. Kendall College went through the first
four rounds undefeated, and Westmoreland
County Community College had only one
loss going into the final round. If Kendall
could win the round, it would be over; if
Westmoreland could pull an upset, it would
go to a tie-breaker.
Asked about her role as captain, Wallner,
who was the only returning member from
last year’s team, said, “It was a mothering
experience,” and called her team “a cohesive,
Team member Robert Baki said the
contest was an “incredible journey.” Jacob
Clara found bonding with teammates the
most important aspect. He said he had a
“forever feeling” about the win.
Kendall College team members had a
short celebration before going back to
work, finding themselves up against Altieri,
Heidi Block, ACF Pikes Peak Chapter
coach, Cindy Komarinski, CCC, CCE,
HAAC, WCCC coach, and David Ivey-Soto,
CEC, CCA, MBA, board representative.
Chris Koetke, CEC, CCE, HAAC, MBA,
Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
executive director, was the alternate.
With five questions to go, the score was
tied, but then Kendall College took the lead.
In the end, the Kendall College team won
gold medals and became 2011 Baron H.
Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl national
champions. Congratulations to the team and
all their supporters. It was a well-fought match
and a well-deserved win.
“It was unbelievable that we earned this
honor,” Ausraite said. And Paige Rogers
added, “It was nice to see something
through and get the payoff after working
so hard. It was very gratifying.”
Finally, Wallner’s fiance said it best,
expressing a leave-it-all-on-the-field
philosophy: “Either come home carrying
the shield, or be carried on it.”
There was a special set of questions
for this round, with categories such as
ACF history and past ACF presidents, as
well as traditional baking and cooking
questions. It was much less serious than
the actual competition, and everyone
had a great time. In the end, the student
team from Kendall College won in a
All the competitors and coaches should be
proud of their hard work and for earning the
honor to compete in the finals.
Desmond Keefe is culinary program chair
at Southern New Hampshire University,
Hooksett, N.H., and a member of ACF
Epicurean Club of Boston.
It should be noted that when the win was
imminent, Jacqueline Wallner, captain of
the Kendall College team, made a selfless
decision to take herself out of the competition
and bring in Gabriele Ausraite, the team’s
alternate. By doing so, she gave her friend
and teammate the opportunity to compete in
the national-title match.
An additional cause for celebration for
the team was that Dina Altieri, CEC, CCE,
the team’s coach, was named 2011 Chef
Educator of the Year.
STUDENTS VS. PROFESSIONALS
A new element in this year’s competition
was the addition of an extra round after
the winning team was determined. The
concept was to have the winner compete
against team coaches and a member of the
national board of directors.
The 2011 Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge
Bowl championship is sponsored by
American Technical Publishers.