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Kendall's Marco Bahena takes top prize in culinary competition

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Thumbnail image for student16_5563.jpg Kendall College senior Marco Bahena won the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition in Napa Valley over the weekend, beating out nine other culinary students for the title.

Bahena, 21, a Vernon Hills native, gets $10,000 and a yearlong paid apprenticeship with one of the chef judges of his choosing (who include luminaries such as Michel Richard and Chicago's own Tony Mantuano).

Bahena's dish, a Mediterranean lamb loin, also won in the Signature Dish category -- which puts an additional $3,000 in his wallet.

For the competition, Bahena recreated his dish from the Chicago regionals, but instead of making six full portions for judges, he had to make 200 tasting portions.

Bahena says he hasn't decided yet which chef he'll work for, though he adds, "I will say I plan on taking the opportunity to go work outside of Chicago for a while and come back with a whole new set of knowledge."

[photo courtesy S. Pellegrino]

2 Comments

thanks for this post, keep up the good work (I've been a reader of Kendall's Marco Bahena takes top prize in culinary competition - Digging in for more than 2 years!:) [long title though:]

Marco is one of the sweetest, kindest, must talented and yet humble young men I've ever met. I love reading stories about the "good guys" coming out on top. Go, Marco!!! Chef Davis

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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