Culinary student Angel Betancourt of Westlake found inspiration in his Puerto Rican heritage while creating an entry for the Pierre’s Ice Cream Challenge at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) recently.
Betancourt was one of five finalists in the dessert competition with a cool treat featuring Pierre’s Mango Sorbet and Passion Fruit Sorbet, toasted coconut and twice-fried plantains covered in dark chocolate.
“Food represents something,” said Betancourt, 64, of Westlake. “It’s part of who we are.”
Students in the competition created an original dessert incorporating a frozen delicacy made by Cleveland-based Pierre’s Ice Cream. That left plenty of options given the company’s line of 235 products and flavors of ice cream, sherbets, frozen yogurts, sorbets and other treats.
The competition finals took place on Oct. 19. A panel of judges considered presentation, creativity, difficulty, how the dessert showcased Pierre’s products and — of course — taste to determine the winner.
Betancourt, a retired educator, began taking culinary classes at Tri-C in 2015. He said he took a deeper interest in cooking following a few health problems so he could learn different ways to prepare nutritious and flavorful meals.
Betancourt said the Pierre’s Ice Cream Challenge let him combine two loves — ice cream and a taste of the tropics. Nearly 50 Tri-C culinary students submitted recipes for the competition, with the field narrowed to five for the finals.
Aside from Betancourt, the other finalists were:
- Mark McQueen of Cleveland, who took first place with a colorful creation that utilized Pierre’s Raspberry Sherbet and Lemon Sorbet
- Humberto Sanchez of Cleveland Heights, who finished second with a rendition of the Italian cannoli that used Pierre’s Signature Cherries & Chocolate Chunks Ultimate Ice Cream
- Beverly Russell of Cleveland, who created a pie-themed treat based around Pierre’s Signature Mocha Mud Pie Ultimate Ice Cream
- Patrick Lyles of Cleveland, who mixed up a three-layer milkshake made with Pierre’s Signature Cookie Butter Fudge Ultimate Ice Cream, Premium Classic Vanilla Ice Cream and Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
The recipes from each of the finalists will be posted at www.pierres.com/blog.
Pierre’s President and CEO Shelley Roth, who served as one of the event judges, said she is always impressed seeing the creative ways Tri-C culinary students use her company’s products in the competition.