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A competition full of mystery: UA to host Northeast Ohio Culinary Classic

January 26, 2016

Twenty chefs from around the country will each use food from a “mystery basket” to create a meal of culinary creations in just over one hour at the Greater Northeast Ohio Culinary Classic this weekend.

The event will be hosted by The American Culinary Federation Akron-Canton Area Cooks and Chefs and The Cleveland ACF chapter at the Crystal Room Bistro in Gallucci Hall on The University of Akron campus on Saturday, Jan. 30, and Sunday, Jan. 31, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The public is invited to participate in this free event by watching the action live from the Crystal Room Bistro dining area, where a video feed displaying the kitchen will be available. UA Hospitality Management students will help host the competition.

Mystery baskets to yield gourmet fare

The contest will consist of 20 chefs and cooks contending for prize money and medals using just their skills and kitchen tools. Most competitors will participate in a “Hot-Food Mystery Basket Competition,” where each will be given a mystery basket containing an array of foods that must be incorporated into their dishes. A portion of all of the food items included in the basket must be used in each competitor’s menu, and the food in the baskets will vary for each round.

Upon completing their dishes, the competitors will be assessed by a team of three judges, including a Certified Master Chef, the highest rank a chef can achieve nationwide. The food will be “blindly” judged on taste, as well as on the competitor’s presentation and execution of skills. 

Local chefs in competition

Local competitors as well as chefs from across the nation will take part in the event. Among the local competitors are UA alumnus Anthony Scolaro, co-owner of Medina’s 111 Bistro, George Niemoeller III from Elegant Ice in Broadview Heights, and Daniel Johnson from the Westfield Company.

The American Culinary Federation Akron-Canton Area Cooks and Chefs Association will present the event, along with the sponsor, The Wasserstrom Company.

During the competition, Wasserstrom will also present an Equipment and Supply Product Showcase on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The showcase will display new and innovative kitchen and dining products.

Media contact: Dan Minnich, 330-972-6476 or