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OCCI Culinary Olympics Coverage from Germany
At the 2010 American Culinary Federation (ACF) National Conference in Anaheim, the ACF held a tryout for the culinary Youth Team USA 2012 that would represent the USA in the 2012 Culinary Olympics (IKA) in Erfurt, Germany. The students from Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, under the coaching and mentor-ship of Randy Torres, CEC, AAC, were selected for that honor. The students had been training for several months, with members ranging from those that already had some national and international competition experience, to those that got their first taste of competing at the tryout. All these students have this in common: the dedication, and the understanding of the hard work that would be required from each of them as they prepare for the exciting culinary adventures in their young lives. Along the way, the experience, knowledge and friendship they gain on this journey will be the ultimate reward for their hard work.
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ACF Culinary Youth Team USA 2012
Alex Darvishi, CEC, AAC – Youth Team Manager
Throughout his career, Alex has coached and mentored many young culinarians to championship titles. He is currently the Executive Chef at Houston Country Club in Houston.
Randy Torres, CEC – Team Coach
Chef Randy Torres is currently a chef instructor at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. He competed nationally and internationally as a member of the California Culinary Team from 1996 to 2004. In 2008, he again competed as a member of ACF Culinary Team USA and won gold in the 2008 IKA in Erfurt, Germany. Most recently, he coached the ACF Culinary Youth Team USA to three gold medals and first place finish at the Scot-Hot Culinary Grand Prix in Glasgow, Scotland.
Edalyn Garcia – Team Captain
Edalyn Garcia has been working in the culinary field since 2007. In the duration of her career, she has been an official apprentice of ACF Culinary Team USA, is a current champion of Scotland’s Knorr Culinary Grand Prix, a three time award winning national gold medalist and a three time award winning international gold medalist. Edalyn has attended the Professional Culinary Institute and graduated with honors in 2007. She is currently attending Oregon Coast Culinary Institute to further her education. She has worked for Bon Appétit, Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Madera, and currently works at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. She has high hopes for the team and the new memories to come.
Laura Chandler – Team Member
Laura grew up cooking at a young age. Although many of her first creations were inedible, her mother always pushed her to keep trying and to always pursue what she loved. She cooked for friends and family every chance she got. After she graduated high school, she decided to follow her passion and went to Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. Laura continues to push herself to get better and sees every mistake as an opportunity for improvement.
Maddie Cutts – Team Member
Maddie Cutts grew up as a young girl in her grandmother’s kitchen. Maddie started helping out with events for the family and has known ever since this would be her career path of choice. She has competed at the high school level for three years in FCCLA. She won state her junior year and continued to compete at the national level. She is currently a student at OCCI working to complete her externship.
Reilly Meehan – Team Member
Reilly Meehan knew he wanted to be a chef the day he stepped foot into the kitchen of his father’s restaurant. Working in the kitchen all through high school, Reilly decided to pursue his career in the culinary field when he won a scholarship to the Professional Culinary Institute. At PCI, Reilly got his first taste of competition where he took first place in a K1 competition and mentored under the Student Hot Food Team. When a spot opened up on the team, Reilly took position of entrée and led the PCI team to a win at the western regionals. In addition, Reilly placed first in the Chaînes des Rôtisseurs Juenes Commis western regional competition, and placed second at the national competition in Seattle. Reilly has recently moved to Oregon to attend Oregon Coast Culinary Institute to further his studies and get a degree in applied sciences.
Alfonso Mendoza – Team Member
Alfonso Mendoza attended Professional Culinary Institute in 2007. While at PCI, he was a part of 2009’s world champion team in Scotland’s Knorr Culinary Grand Prix. He is currently attending Oregon Coast Culinary Institute to further his education and complete his degree. Alfonso is currently working at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Krista Nakamura – Team Member
Krista majored in Professional Baking at Renton Technical College during high school and graduated with honors and an increasing desire to learn more than just the art of baking and pastry work. She began the culinary arts program at Renton Technical College while taking outside courses to achieve her degree in applied sciences. In 2010, she achieved the title “ACF Student Chef of the Year.” After completing her journey in culinary arts, Krista hopes to broaden her learning by seeking out more opportunities to work in the vast field of the food industry.
Lanni Wui – Team Coordinator
Lanni Wui is a graduate of the Culinary Arts Program at Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell, Calif. She was a member of the Sudent Hot Food Team in 2007 and has remained a part of the team ever since. She views her involvement with the team as a learning opportunity and has worked with and accompanied the team to various national and international competitions including the 2008 IKA in Erfurt, Germany and the Scot-Hot Culinary Grand Prix in Scotland.