Jonathan Gabriel Larmie, a student from the Accra Technical University, has emerged the overall winner of the 2021 American National Cooking Competition. He is also the first male to win the competition since its inception in 2015.
The 21-year-old pulled a total of 223 point and took home a big size chest freezer and a four-month industrial internship opportunity at Labadi Beach Hotel under the supervision of Chef Gary Lane. His school also received a chest freezer.
Presenting the award to Larmie at a dinner ceremony at Labadi Beach Hotel, Chef Gary Lane reminded the competitors that there were no losers in the competition but rather an opportunity for them to practice what they learned in their daily activities.
What we do is very important in life because you can’t live without food, food is life”
Anita Abbey of Koforidua Technical University emerge first runner up and while Edward Ekow Asankoma Sam of Sunyani Technical University emerged the second runner up. They both took home industrial cake mixer and a four-burner gas stove oven respectively.
Anita Abbey, 1st runner up, receiving her certificate
The Cooking Competition
This year’s American National Cooking Competition took place at the Flair Catering Institute, Cantonment, Accra on Friday, 13th August, 2021. All eight Technical Universities took part in the competition with their selected best student chefs and a runner. Participating Technical Universities were Accra Technical University, Kumasi Technical University, Koforidua Technical University and Tamale Technical University. The rest are Cape Coast Technical University, Takoradi Technical University and Sunyani Technical University and Ho Technical University.
The competition which is in its fifth year was organized by the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).
The USAPEEC has been at the forefront of helping build professionals within the hospitality sector through their innovative training and cooking competition among the Technical Universities in Ghana.
Shelby Watson, manager of Allied Industries for USAPEEC, speaking virtually from the USA, said the training and competition are aimed at contributing to the holistic development of young “Ghanaian chefs as they learn and compete, sharing creative ideas. It is again geared towards enabling student chefs to exhibit their creative skills in chicken, duck, turkey and processed egg recipes, thereby exposing them to international best practices and preparing them adequately for an ever-growing local and international hospitality industry.”
USAPEEC also seeks to promote the consumption of wholesome chicken as an essential nutritional component of human food with essential minerals and micro-nutrients for growth and wellbeing. The slogan from USAPEEC is simply “Eat more chicken!”
Group photograph of all the winners
Virtual Training – 2021
COVID-19 and its associated restrictions meant that students could not be congregated at a designated place to undergo the training. USAPEEC, therefore, devised a means to reach students with the all-important training. Through this innovation, USAPEEC simultaneously connected all eight technical universities to the world-renowned Chef David Bonom’s kitchen in New York, USA, and a total of over 1,400 students benefited from the two-day virtual training through Zoom on the 4th and 5th August, 2021.
The virtual training proved hugely successful, as students had the opportunity to learn about American processed eggs (egg powder), chicken, duck and turkey. They attested to the immense benefit of the training, and were full of praise for USAPEEC for the exposure.
The first edition of the competition was held in 2015 at the Kumasi Technical University (then a Polytechnic) and Miss Sophia Ekua Hammond of the Kumasi Technical University emerged as the overall winner. The winning prize allowed for Sophia to travel to the United States of America for a week of training at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), New York.
The second edition was held at the Flair Catering Institute in 2016 where Miss Rejoice Akukumah Mayoe of the Koforidua Technical University emerged as the winner.
The third edition was also held at the Flair Catering Institute in 2017 where Miss Josephine Ngenba-Engaa of the Tamale Technical University won. Both Rejoice and Josephine also travelled to New York, for training at ICE, a prestigious culinary institution. Their experiences and exposure were reported to be a huge success and also a life changing experience.
ICE was named the “Best Culinary School in America” with chef-instructors from top restaurants and food businesses, giving students 100% hands-on opportunities to grow and develop students’ personal strengths and passion.
The fourth edition held in 2019 was also won by Evelyn Benyiwa Yankson from the Ho Technical University. Evelyn’s prize was a six-month fully paid industrial attachment with Ghana’s premium 5-star hotel, Labadi Beach Hotel, who were sponsors of the prize.