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Skidmore College

Skidmore culinary team wins gold again

January 13, 2020
by Sara Miga and Julia Marco

Skidmore picked up its seventh consecutive gold medal for culinary excellence at an American Culinary Federation competition at the College's Murray-Aikins Dining Hall on Friday, Jan. 10.

Skidmore’s Dining Services organizes the annual competition to provide staff development, raise the standards of culinary excellence on campus and highlight Skidmore’s exceptional dining program.

What does it take to be a seven-time champion of an American Culinary Federation-sanctioned cooking competition? Members of Skidmore’s Dining Services team say lots of practice and a healthy serving of creativity.

“The event offers professional development in a fun and dynamic setting. Our chefs enhance their culinary skills and come away with innovative dishes that can be put into practice — and onto the plate — in our own dining hall,” said Mark Miller, director of Dining Services at Skidmore. The ACF competition “allows us to advance our skills and develop into a more creative team that is able to offer our community delicious, healthy meals all year.”

To earn gold at the 2020 competition, Skidmore competed with teams from eight other institutions. Each team was tasked with preparing a four-course menu based on the same ingredients.

The Skidmore team’s menu included a wine-poached Maine lobster salad, a pan-roasted roulade of Cornish game hen stuffed with kale and apricots, a Peruvian yam and Ballston Blue cheese galette, and a decadent hazelnut pastry for dessert.

Joe Greco, Shelly Carpenter, Ron Wall and Aaron Buff helped Skidmore win a gold medal at a 2020 ACF-sanctioned competition.

From left, Joe Greco, Shelly Carpenter, Ron Wall and Aaron Buff helped Skidmore win a gold medal at a 2020 ACF-sanctioned competition.

Skidmore, Bonnie Briar Country Club and Cornell University each won gold at the 2020 competition. SUNY Albany and SUNY Geneseo earned silver, and the remaining four teams — Williams College, Tufts University, St. Lawrence University and SUNY Cobleskill — took home bronze medals.

“Skidmore is at the top of the curve in terms of promoting sustainability, utilizing local products and listening to student needs and ideas,” said James G. Rhoads III, a member of the panel of professional chefs who judged the event.

Jim Rose, Skidmore’s executive chef

Jim Rose, Skidmore’s executive chef, prepares a dish at an ACF conference at Skidmore College.

What our team comes away with from this event is energy. We always aim to carry that sense of excitement and creativity into the next semester when our students arrive back to campus."
Jim Rose
executive chef at Skidmore College


The Skidmore team's dessert

The Skidmore team's dessert was a hazelnut financier with citrus pastry cream, blood orange pomegranate curd and macerated persimmon salad.


For its creativity and energy, Skidmore’s Dining Services has earned the College multiple accolades, including a Princeton Review listing for Best Campus Food and a No. 4 spot for Best College Food in New York state by It is also always coming up with new ways to fuel more than 2,500 students with healthy meals, delight hundreds of daily visitors and support College-wide sustainability goals.  Here are just a few examples:

Theme dinners

Rated by students as one of their favorite campus traditions, Skidmore's theme dinners are evenings of dynamic dining. Featuring more than just custom menus, theme dinners are an opportunity to pull out all the production stops with elaborate stage setups, detailed decor and, to the joy of many, a few devoted Dining Services members in costume.

Past themes have stretched imaginations and transported diners to the worlds of Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. A recent dinner, Pirates and Mermaids, was nationally recognized by the Horton Dining Awards, held by the National Association of College and University Food Services.

Low Impact Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, Skidmore Dining Services provides a plant-forward menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, reducing the amount of meat proteins on their menus by 60%.

Trayless Dining

Implemented over a decade ago, Skidmore’s trayless dining program has made a significant impact in reducing waste and overall consumption. Without a tray, diners are more inclined to only take the food they need. The program has helped to reduce use of water and energy, as well as food waste.

Donating extra food

Working with Feedmore, a student club on campus whose primary mission is to divert usable leftovers to local soup pantries, Skidmore donates approximately one ton of food each year.

Sourcing locally 

Committed to providing locally sourced, fresh, healthy foods when possible, Dining Services strives to support local growers and farms, local food hubs, fair trade coffee producers and artisan cheesemakers, among others.

Skidmore student volunteers also take it a step further with their own garden, supplying more than 1,000 pounds of organic produce to the dining hall each year.

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