In his first ever ice carving competition, Joliet Junior College alumnus Ryan Clemente earned first place for his heron and water scene creation.
He was among many representing the college to bring home honors the weekend of Feb. 17 at events across the region.
Clemente, who serves as a lab assistant for JJC’s ice carving class, competed with over a dozen other carvers at the Sturgeon Bay Door County Fire & Ice Festival and Competition in Sturgeon Bay, WI.
“I was honestly very surprised I won. There was some very beautiful other pieces,” said Clemente.
His sculpture features a heron perched on the water next to a lily pad, with a trout springing from below.
“Animals have been one of my favorite things to carve,” he said.
Competitors had up to four hours to complete their project. Clemente say he finished his with about an hour to spare. With the first place selection, Clemente received a ribbon and $100. He was coached by Chef Michael McGreal.
The Tinley Park resident graduated from JJC in spring 2017. He currently assists with the culinary program’s two ice carving classes each semester. Clemente says he’s working to recruit students to restart JJC’s ice carving team. He also has his sights on the 2019 Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth, MI., one of the nation’s top snow carving events.
At the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Regional competition Feb. 16-18 in Madison, WI., JJC’s Emma Prucha received a silver medal in the student chef competition.
Her coach, Chef Timothy Bucci, said competitors were assigned the protein duck leg and thigh quarters and had to show utilization of an under used part of the animal. According to Bucci, Prucha’s dish “had techniques that would match any professional chef's abilities.”
Over the past three months, she practiced a minimum of three to four days a week, he said.
"It was an honor to have coached Emma along the way," Bucci said. "It makes my time coaching and mentoring easy when there is a student who puts so much passion and effort into preparations of a competition."
Bucci also worked with Chef Paul D. Bringas, who coached the student team at the recent ACF regional salon competition. In the field of nine, the JJC team won silver. It consisted of Joshua Quade (Captain), Nicholas Larke, Jasmine Rosenboom, Michael Rodriguez, and Trevor Lehman.
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