Kendall College School of Culinary Arts student Uyen (Nina) Nguyen won the Michelin Scholarship for Culinary Excellence. The scholarship program is sponsored by Michelin, publisher of the world-renowned restaurant rating systems and guide. Nguyen received a $5,000 culinary scholarship and an internship at her choice of the chef judges' establishments. The student competition, hosted by Kendall College on May 23, was evaluated by top Chicago chefs, whose restaurants are featured in The MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011, as well as by surprise celebrity chef Eric Ripert from New York City.
Twelve students each prepared one of five famous dishes from legendary Chicago restaurants using their own methods and techniques. The contestants chose dishes from restaurants recognized by Michelin in The MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011: The Purple Pig (Bib Gourmand), Blackbird (one Michelin star), NAHA (one Michelin star), Spiaggia (one Michelin star) and Avenues (two Michelin stars).
Nguyen, a 23 year old international student from Vietnam, prepared her rendition of Pig's Tails Braised in Balsamic from The Purple Pig. She will graduate from Kendall in December 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management and already received her Associate degree in Culinary Arts in September 2010.
Judging the dishes were Jimmy Bannos and Jimmy Bannos, Jr., of The Purple Pig and Heaven on Seven; Curtis Duffy of Avenues; Paul Kahan of Blackbird; Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia; Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA; and Christopher Koetke, executive director of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and vice president of Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts. Michelin also included a surprise addition to the judging panel - Eric Ripert of New York City's Le Bernardin, one of only nine restaurants in the United States to hold three Michelin stars.
"We are delighted to have partnered with Michelin on an event that offers a once-in-a-lifetime career-building experience for a Kendall College student," said Koetke. "Each student's performance in this competition, coupled with the fact that The Dining Room at Kendall College was the first and only culinary school recognized in The MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011, demonstrates the quality of our extraordinary culinary students and their commitment to excellence."