Baker College’s Culinary Institute of Michigan again brings home medals from annual MSU chocolate competition

Business News |Mar 15, 2017|4 min read

Students win ‘Best in Theme,’ sweep two categories taking gold, silver, bronze

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Students from Baker College’s Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) in Muskegon continue to excel, bringing home medals in all the competition categories at the annual MSU Museum’s Chocolate Party Benefit.

They won medals in the Masterpiece and Student Masterpiece categories, earned all the medals in the remaining two categories and received the Best in Theme award.

Lee Coggin, J.D., Baker College of Muskegon president, said, “Our students and instructors look forward to this extremely popular annual event where they can demonstrate their skills and network with other students and industry professionals. Congratulations to all CIM Muskegon participants and to their instructors for another exceptional showing.”

Students Katie Irrer, of Fowler, and Ashley Hines, of Plainfield, earned silver in the Masterpiece category, competing against professionals, and gold in the Student Masterpiece category for their entry, “Pet’s Imagination.” The showpiece chocolate sculpture weighed approximately 45 pounds and took two and a half weeks of tempering, molding and sculpting to create. The entry also included a strawberry lemonade cake and Key lime bonbons.

Winning Best in Theme for the competition and the bronze medal in the Student Masterpiece category were Marrissa Gibbs, of Holt, Mike Kenat, of Holland, and Karen Bell, of Saginaw, for their entry titled “Puppy Love.” It included a chocolate sculpture, peanut butter crunch bonbons, palet d’or entremet chocolate cake and garnishes of gold dust, chocolate curls and compressed strawberry.

In the Cakes and Tortes category, CIM teams swept the awards with:

  • Tanya Duzey, of Sterling Heights, and Selina Davis, of Whitehall, earning gold for Team D & D for Triple C Entremet de Chocolat.
  • Kenat earning silver for Snowball’s Cake.
  • Gabriel Jordan, of Berrien Springs, and Alexia Frey, of McHenry, Illinois, earning bronze for Chocolate Covered Citrus Berry Entremet.

In the Other Edibles category, CIM students also swept the competition with:

  • Lauren Spray, of Muskegon, earning the gold medal for Founders Rubaeus Bonbons.
  • Quinn Sullivan, of New Hudson, earning the silver medal for Caramel and Dark Chocolate Ganache Bonbons.
  • Karen Bell, of Saginaw, earning the bronze medal for Mocha Kahlua Bonbons.

Competitors were charged with creating chocolate delicacies inspired by the feature film, “The Secret Life of Pets.” All entries were judged on visual appearance, decoration, overall presentation, taste, flavor, aroma and texture, plate presentation, difficulty of technique and originality.

Also displaying culinary creations were CIM graduate and professional chef Dawn Boertman, of Norton Shores, and CIM instructor Amanda Miller, CC, CPC, of Muskegon.

Gold medal winner Duzey credited her success to a dream that was encouraged back in high school at the Warren Career Prep Center, Sterling Heights.

“My teacher at the time, Mark Prentiss, recognized my passion and talent for the culinary arts,” said Duzey. “I know he’d be extremely proud and excited for me today.”

The CIM Muskegon students are pursuing associate degrees in baking and pastry or culinary arts.

The competition, sponsored by Great Lakes Gourmet, is an annual fundraising event for the MSU Museum that generates thousands of dollars for the care and preservation of the museum’s science and culture collections. The 28th annual event was held Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

Baker College offers culinary programs in Muskegon and Port Huron at world-class facilities built specifically for the study of culinary arts.

For more information about Baker College culinary programs, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at or 231.777.5200, or visit

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including applied technology, business, education, engineering, health science, information technology and social science. Baker College has on-ground campuses throughout Michigan and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For information, visit or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook,