While most stay inside during the cold winter months, culinary students from The University of Akron's Garde Manger Club embraced the frigid weather with fervor as they took part in an ice-carving contest in Holland, Mich., Jan. 4 and 5.
This ice sculpture was created by alumnus Aaron Costic, the gold medal carving champion at the 2006 Olympic Arts Festival.
UA's team took third place at a Collegiate Invitational Ice Sculpting Competition hosted by the National Ice Carving Association. Twenty-one of the top college carvers from northeast America took part in this preliminary competition to train for nationals at the end of the January.
Students had the opportunity to show off their artistic talents in two events by carving detailed designs and figures out of 300-pound blocks of ice.
Ice started flying Friday night with the compulsory event. Competitors used templates to create buffet-style pieces ranging from panthers to dragon heads. The four-hour freestyle individual competition took place Saturday. UA's Tori Cunningham, Angela Mathie, Alyson Smith and Disrea Wright took home honorable mentions. Senior George Niemoeller received a fourth-place ribbon.
The UA team will train the next two weeks for nationals.
"Our goal is to score even higher and ultimately to win it for Akron one more time," said Niemoeller. "We have four, but we’d like to see No. 5."
A big part of the team's success has been due to Coach Richard Alford, UA associate professor emeritus of hospitality management, known for providing the team with encouragement and guidance.
"I tell them to control what you can control and not to worry about the rest," said Alford. "If you start worrying about the rest, you'll get into a negative mindset."
With a third-place finish already, the team has a lot to look forward to the rest of the season.
"I'm extremely proud of them," said Alford.
Story by Anna Tultz
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