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My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year | Arts & Culture

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My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year
My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year

MUSKEGON, Mich.--  Baker College of Muskegon is home to the pastry chef of the year in the 2014 Great Lakes Regional Masterpiece Chocolate-Pastry Competition.

This is the second consecutive year Justin Raha has won the honor.  Raha is an instructor at Baker’s Culinary Institute of Michigan.  He’s also the owner and executive pastry chef of Grand Finale Desserts & Pastries in Grand Haven.

All competitors had to create a chocolate display piece, a chocolate anniversary cake and plate presentation and a petite four presentation with eight bonbons, in honor of the event’s 25th anniversary.

Raha took first place with his 47.5-inch-tall chocolate entry, titled “Long Live the Spartans”, which fit the competition’s context- a fundraising event for the Michigan State University Museum.  It took Raha approximately 30 hours to craft.   He also created balsamic- strawberry bonbons and a tort with passion fruit and defreco, reminiscent of champagne. He wanted to incorporate champagne into his entry as a toast to the event’s 25th anniversary.

CIM Muskegon’s Luis Amado also competed in the event, creating a chocolate anniversary bouquet of 18 flowers.  Amado is the director of the school’s baking and pastry arts program.

 “We’re fortunate to have instructors like Chefs Justin and Luis who are passionate about their craft, creative and eager to share their knowledge with students,” said Lee Coggin, J.D., Baker College of Muskegon president. “We’re especially proud of Chef Justin because he’s also a CIM Muskegon graduate.”