12 CPS STUDENTS COMPETE FOR FULL SCHOLARSHIP TO WORLD RENOWNED FRENCH PASTRY SCHOOL; High School Student Finalists Will Compete May 12th in Inaugural Mayor’s Cup Culinary Competition with Celebrity Judges Leigh Omilinsky, Alpana Singh, Brett August and More

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High School Student Finalists Will Compete May 12th in Inaugural Mayor’s Cup Culinary Competition with Celebrity Judges Leigh Omilinsky, Alpana Singh, Brett August and More


Twelve high school students will compete for a tuition scholarship valued at $23,700 this Friday, May 12th, at the first-ever Mayor’s Cup Youth Pastry Competition, held at the French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago (FPS), in conjunction with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago. Today FPS announced the 12 student finalists for the inaugural Mayor’s Cup, a mentoring and vocational opportunity that aims to engage high school students ages 14-19 from each of Chicago’s 50 wards.


The finalists, who represent 12 different Chicago-area neighborhoods, will compete in person with the support of master chefs at the FPS kitchen at 9 am on Friday. In the month leading up to the competition, each finalist received one-on-one mentoring and coaching each week from an assigned FPS master chef through this unprecedented youth competition, FPS empowered Chicago’s students to acquire real-world apprentice experiences and to hone the skills necessary for career opportunities in this fast-growing industry and to properly prepare for the competition.


In April, students across Chicago submitted an original cupcake recipe and short essay on “What Inspires You to Bake,” in which many shared personal stories behind their passion for pastry-making, baking and confectionary arts. Judges from FPS selected the following 12 finalists:


Finalist Name School
Annexie-Destiny Aponte Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy
Saige Cox Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
Mia Engelmann Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
Jimmy Figueroa Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy
Keyonney Johnson George Washington Carver Military Academy
Jacara McClinton Dunbar Vocational High School / Career Academy
Brenda Palacios Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan High School
Jocelyn Salgado Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan High School
Andrea Tellez ASPIRA Business and Finance High School
Berenice Torres Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan High School
Dioselin Trejo Benito Juarez Community Academy
Stephen Yu Lane Technical College Preparatory High School


“We were blown away by the thoughtfulness behind the recipes and essays that students submitted,” said FPS co-founder, Chef Sebastien Canonne, M.O.F. “Although our master chefs have been working with these students to inspire and prepare them for this competition, I think it’s the students who ended up inspiring the chefs. We can’t wait to watch their talents and passion come to life on May 12th.”


At the competition, the finalists will receive instructions to design a three-tiered stand of cupcakes using three of the following set flavors: milk chocolate, exotic puree, almonds and vanilla. Before the live competition, each student will receive his or her own set of world-class baking equipment (rolling pin, fondant smoother, silicone baking mat and more) and set amount of high-quality ingredients (Nielsen Massey vanilla extract, Plugra butter, Patisfrance Glucose and more).


FPS Master chefs and guest judges (listed below) will score the final products on taste and presentation. Ina Pinkney, the chef/owner of The Dessert Kitchen Ltd., will serve as the emcee.


The winner will earn a scholarship to attend Chicago’s renowned world-class pastry school, valued at $23,700. All finalists will receive a free credit to attend a Continuing Education course at FPS.


“Our love for Chicago inspired us to help support the city’s students in a very tangible way,” said FPS co-founder, Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer. “This is an important opportunity to showcase CPS students’ passions and talents for what could turn into a lifelong career of pastry-making and baking.”


Judges on cupcake taste include: Sandra Brumfield, Sweet Nouveau, FPS Alumni; Meg Galus, Boka Restaurant, FPS Alumni; Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times; Leigh Omilinsky, NICO Restaurant; Adriana Saldana-Meadath, Flur, FPS Alumni. Judges on finalists’ workmanship include: Brett August, Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP; Jim Caldwell, Compass Group Eurest B&I; Vincent Floreani, Consul général de France à Chicago; Sarah Levy, S. Levy Foods; Alpana Singh, The Boarding House, master sommelier and TV personality. Additional judges include: Brad Hutchins, Senior Vice President Development, Easter Seals; Ellee Pai Hong, TV personality, actress and journalist.


The new Mayor’s Cup competition increases opportunities for students around the city to engage in extracurricular and real-world learning that will keep them engaged and safe when they aren’t in school.  Youth employment and mentoring programs have shown to both improve academic outcomes and reduce crime involvement for participants.


For more information, please see www.frenchpastryschool.com and/or contact us at [email protected].


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More on French Pastry School:

Founded in 1995, FPS has long been dedicated to supporting the City of Chicago, with local residents accounting for 30-40 percent of the school’s admissions. It strives to offer an innovative, intensive education in which students are equipped to achieve excellence in the pastry, baking and confectionary arts.


Co-founders, Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne, M.O.F., are both recipients of the French Legion of Honour Award, which is the most prestigious award given to a member of the military or civilian by the French government (considered the equivalent of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom). Both chefs were featured in the “Kings of Pastry” documentary filmed by Oscar winner D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus: http://kingsofpastry.com/.

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