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Miami Culinary Institute Students Win Mystery Basket Competition


Miami, November 19, 2013 - Miami Dade College’s(MDC) Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) students Ana Alfonso, Errol Johnson, Cindy Arrate, Karina Gonzalez, and April Pizzo won first place at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Broward chapter’s Harvest Festival Mystery Basket Competition. The MCI team beat out eight other teams representing renowned culinary schools across the state.  

“I'm so thrilled that we won,” Alfonso said. “I was a tad apprehensive about being part of this competition. Competing against schools like Le Cordon Bleu and Johnson & Wales was intimidating. I knew if we were going to be a part of it, we didn't want to settle for anything less than first place. I'm glad we got the title and showed those other schools that MCI also has wicked talent.” 

The Mystery Basket Competition is part of ACF Broward chapter’s annual fundraising event. Each team received a basket with surprise ingredients they uncovered right before the competition, which lasted an hour and 15 minutes. The MCI team worked on a single six-foot table with only half an oven shelf to create their winning dishes – a sweet and a savory, and there had to be 4 plates of each course. MCI Professor, Chef Collen Engle, served as team coach.

This is MCI’s first win in a competition of its kind. Last year, another MCI team competed in the Annual American Institute of Wine & Food Culinary School BBQ Battle, where they earned the People’s Choice Award.

The Miami Culinary Institute at Miami Dade College blends technology, sustainability and world-class education to set the pulse of Miami’s cuisine and food culture innovation. The Institute offers a curriculum steeped in green-sustainable food and energy technologies, the highest quality food and beverage enthusiast programming and customized professional development for corporate and educational partners worldwide. 

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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