Twenty Years of Chocolate

2018 Chocolate Competition

Anaiah Thomas, Writer

On March 26th, Bergen County Academies hosted its twentieth annual Chocolate Competition. BCA juniors and seniors in ACAHA had the opportunity to create a cake based on a theme they found inspirational. The one requirement is that chocolate is used as a core ingredient. This year nineteen teams of students, which included ten junior projects and nine senior projects, prepared their own chocolate cake creations for the competition. These cakes were then reviewed in terms of creativity and taste by a handful of judges, some of which included local chefs, BCA alumni, local industry professionals, and members of the Board of Education.

Winners were selected from both the junior and senior divisions competing for three grand prizes as well as titles for Best in Taste, Extraordinary Effort, and Best Collaborative Engineering Project.  The 2018 Chocolate Competition winners included:


  • Grand Prize Winner: Alex and Sabrina’s “The Bath House”
  • Second Place: Anthony and Allison’s “Life”
  • Third Place: Sophia and Jennifer’s “Eyes of the Stars”


  • First Place: Christine and Olivia’s “Arabian Nights”
  • Second Place: Rosa and Anna’s “The Upside Down”
  • Third Place: Maya’s “Frozen”

Best in Taste: Rocio and Gianna’s “Simply Meant to Be”

Best Engineering Collaboration: Beata’s “Elementary”

Extraordinary Effort: Chris and KJ ‘s “Bee-utiful”

& Mitchell’s “May the Chocolate Be With You”



This event required a huge effort from the ACAHA community. While culinary upperclassmen actually compete in the competition, many culinary sophomores and freshmen volunteer their time to assist competitors in the kitchen. Although the event itself takes place in March, students begin working on these projects months in advance. As early as January, potential competitors begin the planning that will go into their cakes. In February, these ideas are finalized and students begin putting their designs into action. ACAHA sophomore April says, “This is the busiest time of year for everyone in the culinary academy. It is stressful, but fun at the same time.”

The Chocolate Competition, although mainly a culinary centered event, involved a large amount of collaboration with other academies and organizations. All of the cakes that were produced in the competition involved, to some extent, the joint effort between culinary students and engineering students. For example, AEDT junior Maryjo Hobeika, contributed to the production of senior competitor Beata Mirtchouk’s cake titled “Elementary.” According to Beata, the cake was “inspired by Sir Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels as well as the BCC show.” The most captivating aspect of the creation was the moving keys of a giant edible typewriter, which was created with the help of Shannon. Due to this teamwork to create an exemplary mobile display, Beata received recognition for Best Collaborative Engineering Project.

Other collaborative efforts were established between Culinary students and the Visual Academy. Informative pamphlets as well as tickets and placecards were all designed by students of AVPA. The Video Production team was also a major contributor to this event, producing a short film displaying the hard work students put into their cakes which was published on the BergenTV website on March 28th. “Some students even had computer students coding different light sequences,” says Chef Mary Brace (Chef B), the founder of Chocolate Competition. “It really shows how many people helped to make the day a success.”

In reflection of the event, Chef B says “The students did such a fantastic job. It was a wonderful day and a great accomplishment for them.” She also says that the competition has evolved greatly over the past two decades and has “grown into the success it is today.” She adds, “Chocolate Competition began when I had an idea twenty years ago and Dr. Greco and Mrs. Lisa, superintendent and principal respectively at the time, supported it one-hundred percent. They really encouraged me to start something to really inspire the students.” Chef B says that the value in the competition is that it “develops the students to use their creativity and problem-solving skills and ultimately learn some life lessons for the future.”