Roselle Park’s Gabriella Barreira was part of Monroe College’s Culinary Institute of New York (CINY) team that earned the American Culinary Federation (ACF) 2019 New York State Championship title for the second consecutive year – the fourth time in the last five years.
Gabby, a first-year student at Monroe College along with three other students served as apprentices and assisted the team throughout the competition. The annual ACF New York State Championship was held on December 1st at Schenectady County Community College.
Having moved to Roselle Park in 2013, Gabby attended Union County Vocational-Technical (UCVT) High School her junior and senior years in high school. It was there in the school’s culinary program that she discovered that she definitely wanted to be a chef but her inspiration came almost a decade earlier.
“Funny enough, it was the movie Ratatouille that inspired me,” Gabby said in a phone conversation about her journey.
She added, “For me, growing up, my dad was a chef. He was and is still a big role in my life as far as how I’ve gotten here today. I think for me it’s seeing people’s& passion when they cook. There’s no other emotion like when you see people eat food it brings a smile to people’s faces. I want to bring the same joy that I get from food and I want to share that with others.”
Gabby starting cooking any and everything from a young age and then took formal lesson in classes at UCVT. One day, the school was visited by Dean Frank Constantino, the dean of the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College. That visit was the reason Gabby chose to attend CINY. She said of Dean Constantino, “He ‘s very passionate about his students and he puts a lot of time into them.”
As for what she likes to cook, Gabby says that coming from a Portuguese family she loves Portuguese food but over all food. Currently she is enjoying learning to perfect the cooking of classic dishes such as French cuisine.
She still goes back to the basics and to her roots when it comes to food. Her favorite dish to eat is her grandmother’s Meatball Soup. In turn, a traditional chicken soup is her simple, yet comforting, favorite dish to make for others.
Gabriella loves the kitchen and finds any excuse to find her way back to the kitchen to prepare meals. She realizes that the industry itself is hard and time-consuming but she always recalls something her grandfather told her, “If you’re doing something you love and it’s your passion, it’s not work anymore.”
As for the future, Gabby said, “I have a lot of goals and aspirations and dreams but going forward I want to be the best chef I can be. The second thing is, I want to own my own restaurant someday with my dad.”
One final dream that Gabriella shared was inspired by Julia Child. She was assigned to write a term paper for school on a chef from the 20th or 21st century who was a pioneer. She chose Julia Child, explaining, “Julia Child is one of my favorite chefs of all time. The reason is because she was a woman out of her time. She really paved the way for women chefs.”
Gabby then stated, “I want to be one day, and it’s a dream of mine and it may never happen, [but] I want to be of those people who paves the way for future chefs.”
Gabriella is on her way with her continued learning and competing both individually and as part of a culinary team.
By the way, the winning menu from CINY’s team was:
- Fish Starter Course: Filets de Sole Veronique, cooked in a white wine and cream sauce and garnished with grapes
- Salad Course: Petite spicy greens with New York State apples, compressed celery, Parmesan herb tuile, smoked Gouda and candied walnuts; served with an Angry Orchard rosé hard cider vinaigrette, warm onion and leek curd, and celery and green apple gel
- Main Course: Trio of chicken comprising chicken breast roulade, truffle- and foie gras-stuffed ballotine, and chicken shepherd’s pie; served with cranberry relish, wild mushroom sauce and wilted fall greens
- Dessert Course: Valrhona chocolate Grand Marnier tart with pistachio feulletine and pistachio crust; accompanied by citrus salad, vanilla bean and tangerine creamsicle
The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College is located in New Rochelle, New York. Since being founded in 2009, CINY has produced award-winning culinary teams, students, faculty and staff. Their culinary competition team has won close to 900 ACF medals. More information on the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College can be found on its website (link).
Below is a photograph of the 2019 ACF New York State Championship team apprentices with Gabriella on the right.