Culinary Arts Student Wins First Competition

Joliet Junior College culinary arts student, Nina DeBoer, won the Corpse Cabaret competition hosted by the For the Love of Chocolate Foundation Oct. 27 in Chicago.

Nina DeBoer posing next to her award-winning cake
Nina DeBoer and
her cake, "Love Never Dies".

The competition included about 20 culinary student competitors from around the area. Each competitor was tasked with creating a 3-tier cake with an 18-inch base. 

Her winning cake design, “Love Never Dies,” featured a skeleton groom climbing to meet his skeleton bride atop the cake. DeBoer used modeling chocolate, royal icing and isomalt to create the elaborate design. The middle of the cake also lights up red via a remote control. 

DeBoer said that her design was inspired by El Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, but the idea evolved as she worked on the cake. 

“As I put things together I would receive interesting ideas from people hanging out with me while I was working. The design just started getting better until I finally made myself stop adding details, threw my hands up, and said, ‘That’s it! It is finished!’ I delivered it the next day and I guess the rest is history!”

Corpse Cabaret was DeBoer’s first culinary competition. She said that winning was an awesome feeling and that she could see herself pursuing a career in cake decorating.

DeBoer’s professors are proud of her performance at the competition and with the skills she brings to the classroom.  

“Nina is an exceptionally talented and focused young culinarian,” said JJC instructor Chef Mike McGreal. “Since the moment she enrolled in the Culinary Arts Department at age 17, she impressed all the faculty with her attention to detail, wonderful demeanor and determination for excellence in all she does. We are all very proud of Nina and to have her represent the program at this exciting competition.” 

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