Brian Duffett Wins National SkillsUSA Culinary Competition
When you hear about a six-foot five-inch national champion showing off his skills, you normally think of a wide receiver or a basketball player. At Jefferson State, it is about the skills for a meaningful career.
On June 24, Jefferson State Community College’s six-foot five-inch Culinary Student Brian Duffett showcased his skills against 26 other state champions and won the gold medal as the top culinary student in the nation during the SkillsUSA Culinary Competition in Louisville, Kentucky.
“When you’re competing at the state and national level, you are going against the top culinary students,” said Duffett. “It’s fun, it’s exciting and it really gets your adrenaline pumping.”
During the national competition, each competitor had to complete protein fabrication skills, knife skills (vegetable cuts), a salad course, a soup course, and two entrées to include protein, starch and vegetables. Competitors are judged on numerous categories such as food safety, cuts, cooking techniques, menu development, professionalism, and more.
“Brian definitely has what it takes and we are all extremely proud of him,” said Jefferson State Culinary Director Joseph Mitchell. “He has practiced since January and has worked very hard to prepare for the various levels of competition.”
To compete in nationals, Duffett first had to win the Alabama SkillsUSA competition in April. By winning the state, he earned the right to compete nationally. By winning the national competition, he was awarded a gold medal and a full scholarship to attend The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York (valued at $50,000).
“So much of the credit belongs to Chef Mitchell and the Jefferson State Culinary instructors,” said Duffett. “Every instructor helped me and taught me something I needed.”
“My immediate plans are to finish my associate’s degree at Jefferson State, then use the scholarship to transfer to CIA to finish my bachelor’s degree,” said Duffett. “One day, I would really like to own my own restaurant.”
To learn more about the Jefferson State Culinary Program, go to www.jeffersonstate.edu/chi or call (205) 983-5214.