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CJT Class 128 Cookoff: Truffle Mac and Cheese Reigns Supreme

Cookoff winners, Quentin and Dareon, present their dish to the judges.

Last Friday, March 18th, Culinary Job Training Class 128 competed in our cheesiest cookoff yet!

Split into three teams, this small but mighty class incorporated history, tradition, and creativity into their macaroni and cheese dishes. Students spent the morning collaborating to create their unique takes on this classic food.

Team The Innovators were inspired by James Hemings, the enslaved chef of Thomas Jefferson credited with inventing macaroni and cheese, and prepared an elevated version of the original recipe with lobster. Team New and Improved also went the seafood route and added shrimp to their dish while taking a creative approach by cooking the noodles in chicken stock to add more flavor. In the end, our third Team, Team Next Level, brought home the win with their truffle mac and cheese, topped with fried truffle cheese balls.

Guest judges Chef Malena Douthit, Office Manager at Eat the Change; Chef Kish Marshall, Director of Culinary Operations at DCCK and John-Marc Charpentier, Impact and Evaluations Specialist at DCCK, all remarked on how close the culinary competition was.

“Food is a love language and y’all really let that love come through in your cooking,” said Judge Kish Marshall.

Ultimately, the Innovators and New and Improved tied for second place.

Members of the winning team, Quentin and Dareon, agreed on what made their dish successful, “We were in agreement and wanted to make sure both of our visions for the dish would work together,” said Quentin K.

Prior to the cookoff, only one student had ever prepared macaroni and cheese from scratch. By the end of the day, each student had helped prepare a complex cheesy dish, complete with compliments from professional chefs.

To see photos from the cookoff, check out our gallery below!