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U.S. Collegiate National Championships at THE CARVE

1st place winning team from Columbus Culinary School

1st place winning team from Columbus Culinary School

The first ever U.S. Collegiate National Championships were held at THE CARVE event at the Holland Farmer’s Market in Holland Michigan. It was all about fruit and vegetable carving. What fun it was. There was creativity flowing everywhere. In this article, you’ll see the winners and you’ll find lots of photos that may give you some ideas of your own.

Individual Compulsory Competition

College culinary teams competed in three different events. First was the compulsory event where students were shown how to carve a rose into a watermelon  by Doug St. Souver, 2 time Food Network Food Carving Champion. They were then let loose to carve their best watermelon with roses within a two hour time limit. Here are photos of some of the rose carvings.

You can learn to carve roses on watermelons in our video lessons, Carving Watermelons-Roses, Buds and Leaves. Our Roses, Buds and Leaves are also included in our Vegetable and Fruit Carving 101 Course for Beginners.

Mystery Basket Individual Competition

The “Individual” section of the competition was held the next morning, each student competitor was given a “mystery” basket full of fruits and vegetables. They then had 3 hours to come up with a design and complete their vegetable sculpture or arrangement. The winners of the Singles Event were:

1st Place Collegiate National Champion  – Colin Sweet, Columbus Culinary Institute, Team A

2nd Place Collegiate National Champion – John Kelly, Columbus Culinary Institute, Team A

3rd Place Collegiate National Champion – Jayme Schumacher, Columbus State Community College

Here are some photos showing the creative ideas that they came up with.

Team Competition

After lunch, the team event began. Teams of 2 and 3 students had 4 1/2 hours in which to create their pre-planned fruit and vegetable carving sculptures. It was great to see the creative ideas and implementation. Here are some photos from the team competition. The winners of the team event were:

1st Place Collegiate National Champions – Oakland Community College

2nd Place Collegiate National Champions – Columbus Culinary Institute, Team A

3rd Place Collegiate National Champions – Columbus State Community College

All the points from the three events, the compulsory, the individual and the team competition were combined to decide the overall winners of the event.

The overall Collegiate National Champions  are:

1st Place Collegiate National Champions – Columbus Culinary Institute from Columbus, Ohio

2nd Place Collegiate National Champions  – Columbus State Community College from Columbus, Ohio

3rd Place Collegiate National Champions  – Oakland Community College from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

4th Place Winners Collegiate National Champions – Columbus Culinary Institute, Team B

Here are photos of the Overall Winning Teams:

Click here to see the winners of the People’s Choice Competition

Judging was done by Food Network Champion Doug St. Souver, Jeff Petercsak of the National Ice Carving Association, Greg Butauski and Trey Justice of Rock On Ice / Art the and me, Nita Gill of

All of the competitors from both the U.S. Collegiate National Championships, their coaches and the pros and amatuers that competed in the People’s Choice Division were treated to a lovely awards banquet featuring delicous Octoberfest food provided by the Alpenrose restaurant in Holland Michigan.

With this being primarily a learning opportunity, the students really did a great job. The U.S. Collegiate National Championships are expected to grow dramatically over the next few years. If you want to be involved as a competitor next year, come join in. You can contact the organizer of the event Greg Butauski of Rock On Ice.

Greg did a great job of organizing this fun and educational event. Thanks Greg! Also a big thank you to Claire DePree from the City of Holland for coordinating this event so well. Great job!

Oh and one more big thank you to the front desk staff of The Haworth Inn at Hope College where I stayed. They were wonderful with helping me get my carvings in and out of their walk-in refrigerator at all hours of the day and night.

Learn to carve like a pro

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5 Responses to U.S. Collegiate National Championships at THE CARVE

  1. abigail veira October 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    I am sorry I mist it maybe next time it must feel great be able to do such pretty carvings. one day soon hope will do mine thank you for sharing and please keep them coming abby.

  2. abigail veira October 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    thank you !

  3. Ana October 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi Nita! Thank you very much for photos.I like your carvings especially a carved melon.I would like to be involved in competition next year.But I am living in LA and it’s hard for me to go to another state.

    • admin October 11, 2010 at 11:08 am #

      We’ll have to organize one for So. California. That would be fun wouldn’t it?

  4. kavya bhanu April 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    thanks miss nita .i had a vegetable carving competition in my school and i tried your simply and lovely watermelon cake and i got FIRST prize. every one asked me how i made it i said that my aunty is nita gill she teached me…….THANK U THANK U THANK U THANKU……………………………………………..

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