July 8, 2024

Recent Culinary Arts graduate headed to national competition

student chef in kitchen

Allison White will compete to become the American Culinary Federation’s Student Pastry Chef of the Year during a competition July 14-18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

A newfound love of baking began at age 12 for Allison White.

She enrolled in a cupcake decorating class as a part of Kids on Campus, the Schoolcraft College summer camp program put on for youngsters each year by Personal & Professional Learning.

person stirring a whisk in kitchen
A photo of Allison White participating in a Kids on Campus summer camp when she was 12.  

Now, 14 years later, she’s taking those skills she’s collected over the years and putting them to the test: White will compete to become the American Culinary Federation’s Student Pastry Chef of the Year during a competition July 14-18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

She received a degree originally in graphic design out of high school, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she decided to head back to school for something different. It’s been quite a journey for White, who came back to school to pursue a degree in the culinary arts, specifically in pastry.

“I love cooking in a normal kitchen, but the intricate detail and the whole science behind baking and pastries, that’s kind of where my heart’s at,” she said. “Plus, it always tastes good, too.”

She enrolled in several culinary classes, including the salon competition course, a section she particularly enjoyed. She then was approached by several Culinary Arts faculty members, inquiring if White was interested in being nominated to compete. She was honored and began practicing.

“Allison has a great mindset when it comes to baking and it was a no-brainer when we approached her to compete,” said Chef Heather Moore, CMB, CEPC, a Culinary Arts faculty member. “After seeing her in class, we knew she had the skillset and talent to be a successful competitor.”

She competed for the first time in February, her first such event. She ended up leaving with a gold medal from that competition.

Fast forward to the beginning of May, where White headed to the Culinary Institute in Port Huron. There, she put her best foot forward, creating several dishes put up against several student chefs from across the central United States. After the judging was complete, she got the word: she had won an individual award and won the chance to compete in the national competition happening in July.

chef glazing pastry in kitchen
Allison White preps for the American Culinary Federation Student Pastry Chef of the Year in the Schoolcraft College kitchens

She couldn’t believe her ears when her instructor told her the news.

“I started screaming at the point where they had to shut the doors because they thought something was going wrong,” White said.

If that wasn’t exciting enough for White that day, she then packed up and headed back to Livonia for another major event: Schoolcraft College’s 59th Annual Commencement, where she walked across the stage after earning an Associate in Applied Science Degree and a Certificate in Baking.

“It was a very busy day. It was insane,” she said. “It was a crazy day, but it was a good memory.”

Since graduating, White can still be found in the Schoolcraft College kitchens, working to prepare her two dishes for competition later this month. She’s testing recipes, including crepes and tortes made with a variety of sweet ingredients.

After the competition, she plans on sticking around and working as an assistant the next school year. Eventually, White said she would love to end up at a largescale baking operation at a place such as Mackinac Island.

“I told myself I have the summer to focus on competition to get myself to that national title level,” she said. “I would like to eventually go work somewhere in a big pastry kitchen.”

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