Culinary arts instructor Vernon McNece (left) and his team took top honors
at this year’s Deaf Culinary Bowl. Photo: Anna Mindess.

The winning dessert was a berry cannelloni encircled by crispy dough.
Photo: Vernon McNece.

If you read our Fall 2017 issue story about culinary arts instructor Vernon McNece, who teaches students at the California School for the Deaf (CSD), you may recall that he and his students were disappointed when they didn’t win at the annual Deaf Culinary Bowl in 2017. McNece vowed a triumphant comeback in 2018, and now he’s delivered on that promise. On March 31, CSD Fremont not only won first place, but was also chosen as the school with the “best teamwork.” 

For the Italian-themed meal challenges, McNece again came up with ambitious dishes. Last year’s defeat was in part due to a mozzarella balloon that refused to inflate. Since one determined student practiced the tricky procedure over the summer, McNece included a mozzarella balloon on his entrée plate of “tapenade three ways.” The student “nailed it” (or in this case didn’t, as the balloon stayed perfectly inflated). In the now-expanded field of seven schools, McNece thinks it was his showstopping dessert, berry cannelloni encircled by a crispy halo of dough, that sealed the deal.