Culinary Competition Series at Culinary Institute of Virginia: Best of the Bites

Culinary Competition Series at Culinary Institute of Virginia: Best of the Bites

Local Seniors Judge, Award Scholarships

Often referred to as finger food, hors d’oeuvres have evolved well beyond the basic canapé. Maybe it’s because many are ditching formal dinners for greater social interaction. But going more casual does not mean reverting to cheese and crackers. Caterers today are upping their games with bite-sized culinary excellence.

To keep its culinary students in step with the demands of the marketplace, the Culinary Institute of Virginia challenged its students to stretch the boundaries of their culinary creativity. Called “Best of the Bites,” this competition included members of the nearby Atlantic Shores retirement community who served as judges. They also came with money – $3,000 worth of scholarships for the winners.

[Tweet “Judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on ingredients, colors, freshness, flavor, creativity, portion size, and ease of consumption while standing.”]

Students were asked to create a fresh, brand new recipe. It could be savory or sweet, crunchy or creamy, raw or cooked. Moreover, it had to look as good as it tasted. Judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on ingredients, colors, freshness, flavor, creativity, portion size, and ease of consumption while standing. While all entries were outstanding in their own way, here are the top three vote getters:

First Place: BLT Blossoms – $1,200 Scholarship
Floyd Thomas and Karen “Becky” Waters

A clever and delicious reimagining of everyone’s favorite summer sandwich, the classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Served on a wooden skewer stem, the BLT Blossoms were planted in a bed of fresh greens. A treat for the mouth and eyes!

Second Place: Shrimp/Guacamole Herb Cup – $1,000 Scholarship
Shannon Stewart and Kendall Ashwood-Hayes

Team “Holy Guacamole” got the fiesta started with a lip-smacking flakey pastry cup filled with guacamole and topped with spicy grilled shrimp.

Third Place: Lox Puri – $800 Scholarship
Lyle Delacruz and Brenek McIntosh

A modern interpretation of a bagel with cream cheese and lox, featuring Pani Puri Crackers filled with cream cheese, topped with watercress, dill, chives, capers, and thyme, crowned with Cured Salmon Gravlax.


Congratulations to all who participated for a job well done!