CWU News

CWU Catering Chef Wins Bronze Medal at Regional Culinary Challenge

Central Washington University Catering Chef Darren Macri recently earned a bronze medal at the National Association of College and University Food Services’ (NACUFS) 2019 Pacific Regional Culinary Challenge in Spokane.


Macri represented CWU Dining Services and competed against 11 chefs from higher education institutions across the United States and the Pacific region.


Scoring for the competition was based on a tiered point system, where the point bracket determined whether a contestant received a medal. Four chefs received silver medals while eight earned bronze.


“One of the judges did mention that they rarely give out a gold medal,” Macri noted. The contestant with the highest score from the regional competition advanced to participate in the NACUFS national culinary challenge, which will take place this July at the NACUFS national conference in Denver, CO.


Dean Masuccio, the Director of CWU Dining Services, believes that the value this experience brings to the CWU Dining program is multi-faceted.


“For Darren, it provides an opportunity to be involved with others in the university food services world,” he said. “It also gives him an opportunity to be involved with the American Culinary Federation judges and to receive valuable critique that can be brought back to our campus and used to influence our culinary program.”


Masuccio also believes that this type of participation allows Dining Services to be recognized for excellence at the regional and national level.


“These are culinarians who are preparing the food on our campus that our students eat every day, bringing recognition to our culinary team and adding value to our program,” he continued.


“My biggest take-away is coming back here and wanting my kitchen to have more of that atmosphere of being surrounded by my peers,” Macri said. “There’s no reason we can’t strive for more greatness.”


Masuccio will encourage his staff to participate in the future: “I look forward to having a competitor at next year’s regional NACUFS competition in Colorado Springs.”


Media contact: Emilie Hobert, Department of Auxiliary Enterprises, 509-963-2428,