Super College Student Chefs victorious in USA

Student chefs from City of Glasgow College mastered a Maryland staple to retain their international cook-off title in a live head-to-head competition in America.

Mentored by City of Glasgow College senior chef lecturer - and current BBC Masterchef: The Professionals winner - Gary MacLean, the culinary students emerged victorious, after three hours of planning and cooking, to retain the prestigious Atlantic Cup against Maryland’s Anne Arundel Community College.

The team of five students were presented with a mystery basket filled with blueberries, rhubarb, baby spinach, quinoa, chanterelle mushrooms, tomatoes, corn, duck and soft shell crabs - a Maryland staple this time of year.

The students, Russell Starkey, Wendy Lo, Anthony Mahon, Kevin McCafferty and Hayley McCook, were then given 30 minutes to plan a three-course meal using those ingredients, followed by two and a half hours to execute the meal.

The first dish the team presented was a soft shell crab salad with fried crab legs, corn puree, corn salsa and charred watermelon, while the American students produced a quinoa-crusted soft shell crab with sauteed Maryland sweet corn, tomato confit, finished with a corn double-cream. Two more courses, an entree and a dessert, followed.

Gary MacLean, said:

“The students performed superbly under the pressure of cooking from a mystery box in front of a live audience and to a strict time scale. It was a fantastic achievement to retain the Atlantic Cup.

“For us, it's definitely a cultural exchange as much as a competition. This experience will help build the young chefs’ skills and confidence, particularly in an increasingly global culinary arts world.”

City of Glasgow College Principal and Chief Executive, Paul Little, said:

“This is a wonderful competition that benefits both the students and the colleges involved. The students have really done themselves and the whole of the college proud with their dedication, professionalism and success in retaining the Atlantic Cup. Strong synergies exist between our two colleges and, after the ongoing success of this competition, we hope to be able to expand this partnership in the future.”

At the end of the contest judge Susan Notter, a pastry chef and member of the USA Culinary Olympic Team, congratulated all of the student competitors. She said:

"Every time you do something like this, it only teaches you to be better."

The inaugural Atlantic Cup cooking challenge was held during the launch of City of Glasgow College’s new £228m super college in the heart of Glasgow, as part of a partnership established between the institutions in 2014.

This year City of Glasgow College students travelled over 3,000 miles to the USA to defend their title against the trainee chefs from Anne Arundel Community College, which is regarded as one of the best culinary schools in America.