Culinary Institute of the South’s Saturday event saw record attendance

Published on April 10, 2024

Approximately 200 turned out for open house and live recipe competition

The Culinary Institute of the South at Technical College of the Lowcountry saw approximately 200 guests for its open house and live recipe competition on April 6.

Held at TCL’s Bluffton Buckwalter Place campus, the event drew one of the largest crowds to the culinary institute this year.

“It was truly a great day and I think the community really got to see all that we do and offer here at the Culinary Institute of the South,” said Chef Jacqueline Orak, Culinary Department Head and Pastry Instructor.

While the open house enrollment event was geared toward prospective students interested in attending TCL, the “Tastes Like Home” recipe contest saw crowds gather to watch the seven contestants as they baked and worked against the clock. Launched earlier this year, the contest – sponsored by King Arthur Baking Company and the culinary institute – was open to area high school and current culinary institute students. Seven finalists were selected to compete in the live event held Saturday morning.

All of the competitors did a fantastic job, Orak said, but ultimately Lauren Wood, a baking and pastry student at the Culinary Institute of the South took home the grand prize for her “Oscar’s Rum Cake” recipe.

The contest’s winner was given the option of selecting between an all-expense paid trip to King Arthur’s baking facility in Norwich, Vermont, or a $5,000 scholarship to the Culinary Institute of the South provided by King Arthur. Wood has elected to take the trip. Her recipe will be published on King Arthur’s website.

Other winners included Noah Swader who won in the category of savory for his Shiitake Gruyere Pithivier and Kaitlen Nettles who won in the sweet category for her Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. Both were awarded $1,000 scholarships from King Arthur to continue their studies at the culinary institute. Last but not least, Adam Rosen, a junior at May River High School, took home the People’s Choice Award for his Orange Walnut Bundt Cake.

Recipes were judged based on creativity, taste, presentation and best use of King Arthur Baking Company product.

Judges for the competition included Phyllis Enloe, retired baker and former owner of Village Bakery Cafe in Amarillo, Texas; Duane Copeland, head baker at Lowcountry Fresh in Bluffton; Ryan Fennesy, Co-Owner Sprout Mama bakery on Hilton Head Island; Carrie Brisson, Head of Bakery at King Arthur and Molly Lawrence, Corporate Social Responsibility Manger at King Arthur. Additional judges included Chef Miles Huff, Founding Dean for the Culinary Institute of the South; Jo Vonia Newby, Executive Pastry Chef at Palmetto Bluff Club and Eric Sayers, Instructor at the Culinary Institute of the South and Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence.   

The event also featured culinary faculty, students and alumni who provided cooking demonstrations and tastings and representatives from King Arthur gave presentations about the company. TCL staff were also on hand to answer questions about enrollment, financial aid and more.

TCL Baking & Pastry Student Lauren Wood won the “Tastes Like Home” Recipe Contest sponsored by King Arthur Baking Company

Tastes Like Home Recipes

Check out contestants’ recipes here!

Additional winners of the “Tastes Like Home” Recipe Contest included Kaitlen Nettles, Noah Swader and Adam Rosen. For more photos and scenes from the day, visit the Culinary Institute of the South’s Facebook page.