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Pick a Pear

Culinary students compete

Culinary students and judges at the April 20 competition

What happens when you pair innovative chefs-in-training with American-style Asian pears? A culinary competition as exciting as any you'd see on television!

Northampton Community College culinary students were given samples of dried subarashii kudamono pears, which are grown in Eastern Pennsylvania.  They werePear Competition April 20 tasked with combining the pears with inventive ingredients to create dishes that would be judged on overall presentation, design, flavor, and taste. Competitions were held on April 13 and 20.

Pairs of students worked in teams for six hours to prepare multiple dishes:  entrees, soups, salads, desserts, and sides, for a panel of respected culinary judges.  The dishes were tasted and critiqued, with all the students receiving constructive feedback.

"We wanted to challenge all these great minds with a great product that is grown right here in the Lehigh Valley," Holly Harter, director of marketing for Subarashii Kudamono LP, said of the contest.

"It was a lot of fun. It brought out a lot of creativity by making you push yourself out of your comfort zone," student Jessica Fisher said.

Students combined the pears with everything from ice cream to alligator!

"It was very interesting to find how many different possibilities there were. I wouldn't have thought of them if I didn't have the pears right in front of me to work with," Rebecca Grube said of the competition.

Winners of the April 13 competition were:
Evan Hallman and Dan Baldwin
Jaclyn VanBiliard and Damarys Carrero
Charissa Adorno and Randy Marange

Winners of the April 20 competition were:
Cody Dally and Rosauris Ventura
Jessica Fisher and Maria Berrios
Tayannah Schonenberg and Rebecca Grube

They each won a certificate for a box of culinary grade Asian pears (available this fall), a package of dried pears, and a portfolio shot of their winning dish.

To learn more about Subarashii Kudamono pears and to find recipes, visit the website wonderfulfruit.com. View more photos from the culinary competition in this photo gallery.