Skip to main content

WakeMed Chefs to Compete at National Culinary Event

What are the ingredients to WakeMed’s success at this year’s Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) Culinary Competition?  That would be Raleigh Campus Food & Nutrition Services director Jessica Marchand and Café 3000 chef Jennifer Leamons. The two were selected to compete together for the second time since 2012 in this national cook-off against four other teams from hospitals across the United States.

Their dish is Gluten-Free Rice & Bean Raviolo with Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Cream. During the June 4 competition in Orlando, Fla., the judges will also throw competitors a curve ball – one mystery ingredient must be incorporated into each dish.

Marchand (left) and Leamons practice cooking for the competition at WakeMed on May 13.

Sponsored by Basic American Foods (BAF), this elite competition requires that each team prepares and cooks their dish in 75 minutes, with only one hour the day before to wash fruits and vegetables and line up ingredients and supplies at their cooking stations. Each dish must cost $7 or less to prepare and consist of 700 calories or less.  Additionally, BAF requires that each dish include their brand of Santiago® vegetarian refried beans.

“We are being really ambitious to make pasta for five judges in 75 minutes,” said Leamons as she practiced making her dish in the WakeMed kitchen with Marchand on May 13.  “But I wanted to make this dish because I used to work on cruise ships and travelled to the Caribbean a lot.  So, I love eating rice and beans.”

Leamons and Marchand's dish: Gluten-Free Rice & Bean Raviolo

To make the pasta, Leamons and Marchand will use rice flour to complement the refried bean requirement. The women will make up the only all-female team at the competition and are looking forward to representing WakeMed at this culinary event. We wish them the best of luck!