UAA culinary arts takes second place in professional dessert competition

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Caroline Towne and Matt Kudyba representing UAA’s hospitality and culinary arts program at Sweet Rivalry’s edible dessert competition. Photo credit: Victoria Petersen

In their first year competing, UAA’s culinary and hospitality program placed second in the Sweet Rivalry edible centerpiece competition on Oct. 2.

Continuing for a second year, Sweet Rivalry is a professional dessert competition and fundraising event for the Arc of Anchorage.

Sweet Rivalry consists of three separate competitions: a plated dessert competition, an edible centerpiece competition and a dessert cocktail competition. The dessert cocktail competition is a new event added to this year’s Sweet Rivalry fundraiser.

Local businesses and culinary teams all meet at the Hilton to create sweet masterpieces that are then judged by a panel.

This year, Dipper Donuts took first place in the plated dessert competition with a salted brown butter glazed doughnut that featured chocolate ganache, a port poached pear and creme fraiche. Glacier Brewhouse placed in second and Kincaid Grill in third.

Tequila 61 won best tasting cocktail for their homemade horchata cocktail.

Rustic Goat and Phat Kid food truck, under the Kaladi Brother’s umbrella, took first place in the edible centerpiece competition with a mountain-sized treat, complete with an edible lake and lights to illuminate the scene. In second place was UAA culinary arts with an over-sized heart-shaped chocolate box filled with chocolates garnished with gold flakes.

UAA’s edible centerpiece featuring a heart-shaped chocolate box decorated with edible flowers and filled with chocolates. Photo credit: Victoria Petersen
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Everyone participating in Sweet Rivalry for UAA was a student of Chef Vern Wolfram’s in the culinary department. The students were receiving a grade for their participation in the competition.

“I helped them with a lot of things, but yes, the students made [the centerpiece],” Wolfram said.

Students were taking inspiration from the other culinary teams competing around them.

“It’s been super fun. You get to see a lot of other businesses doing their thing and just see what you can aspire to be. It’s great to be students here, but also be at the top here,” Caroline Towne, restaurant management and culinary arts student, said.

For many of the students, this was their first time participating in a competition like this.

“I’ve never been to an event like this, but I’m excited to be here and be with people who are passionate about what they’re doing here,” Matt Kudyba, who is working on his associates of culinary arts, said.

From this event, the Arc of Anchorage raised well over $30,000 to support Alaskans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.