High school chef honored to compete with college students

Owning a bakery, student ‘adapts’ classic recipes


Bayport-Blue Point High School student Taylor DiBiase competed alongside college students in Buffalo earlier this month at the American Culinary Federation Northeast Regional Student Pastry Chef of the Year Competition.

“After months and months of recipe testing and practice, we drove up to Buffalo [for the competition]. On competition day, my nerves were super high because this was my first competition on such a big stage and I was also making history by being at this competition,” said Taylor.

As the first high school student to ever compete at this level, DiBiase said she was “super proud” at being given the opportunity, albeit intimidated.

Spyridon Giannakoulopoulos (Chef Spiro for short) was also competing for Chef of the Year.

“It was definitely special to be able to work alongside him for many months and watch him take home gold. After the competition was over, it was a bittersweet feeling. Although I was super proud of myself and how far I’d come, it was also surreal that all of my work had come to an end,” said Taylor.

The requirements for the competition were to make a plated dessert with orange, banana, and chocolate.

Taylor and her chefs from BOCES (Matt Kozak and Chef Spiro) built a dish that encompassed British orange ginger cake, blood orange compote, banana gnocchi with a dark rum sauce, spiced banana doughnut, orange creme anglaise, chocolate feuilletine soil, dark chocolate ice cream finished with Maldon sea salt, and orange blossom tuile.

In addition to competing on such an advanced level, Taylor has also started her own business, TD Kitchen.

“I initially started when people started asking about my chocolate-chip cookies. These were a town favorite and continued to make their way across Bayport, along with my other holiday menus and custom cakes. In order to make this possible, my parents dedicated their time and kitchens on most weekends so I could make this dream a reality,” said Taylor.

For those new to her food, Taylor said she wanted people to not only taste how delectable her creations are, but also to be cognizant of the time and effort that went into the product.

Taking inspiration from Instagram and ingredient availability for the season, Taylor curates an experience for her clients to indulge in food that is both of the moment and classic.

“I typically find recipes and adapt them to what I think works best, but am always up for the challenge to create my own recipes,” said Taylor.

Hoping to graduate from the prestigious Johnson and Wales, Taylor aspires to own her own small kitchen.

“Whether that be TD Kitchen or something else, I want to continue putting myself out there and pleasing my customers,” said Taylor.

A love of food and cooking began when Taylor was a little girl making Sunday sauce alongside her father. With the traditional Italian dinner becoming a staple in their home, Taylor and her father would spend time together in the kitchen, where he shared his love of cooking.

“Seeing his passion for cooking was something that I always admired and wanted to pursue. His love for cooking inspired me to start baking and to put myself out there,” said Taylor.

Growing in her field has come with the challenge of “pushing myself out of my comfort zone” and “taking big risks that sometimes don’t work out.”

Throughout the process, Taylor said she realized that failure was only part of progress and to regroup if a recipe didn’t appeal to the palette as intended.

“Sometimes a new recipe didn’t work out, and that’s ok. This gave me the chance to rethink the recipe and, in some cases, elevate the recipe to the next level. Realizing that failure is part of progress, I think, is something that I will never fully overcome. I think there is always something new to learn and that failure is inevitable,” said Taylor.


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