Kendall College School of Culinary Arts Student Represents U.S. in International Culinary Schools Tapas Competiton in Spain

Marco Bahena, 21, a student enrolled in Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, will represent the United States in the second-annual International Culinary Schools Tapas Competition, November 8-12 in Valladolid, Spain.

Bahena will compete against 13 culinary-arts students representing 11 nations and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Bahena is one of three Americans selected to represent the United States following a preliminary competition that was open to culinary-arts students across the nation. The Internatinal Culinary Schools Tapas Competition is hosted by the Spain-based Fundacion de la Lengua Espanola (Spanish Language Foundation), a nonprofit cultural and educational foundation, to honor tapas, from the Spanish word tapar, meaning "to cover."

“I wanted to highlight products from the Midwest and, specifically, Chicago’s Green City Market,” says Bahena. “I am most excited about this competition because of the very unique opportunity to cook alongside people from all over the world. It gives me the ability to not only learn more about Spanish cuisine, but to get a taste of different flavors and cooking styles from many different cultures.”

Bahena consulted with Chef Michael Fiorello of Mercat a la Planxa, the Chicago restaurant owned by Philadelphia chef, restaurateur and Kendall alum Jose Garces, to perfect the tapa that he’ll prepare in Spain.

“Kendall College is very proud of Marco, who is an excellent student with a promising future as a culinarian,” says Renee Zonka, RD, CCE, CHE, managing director and associate dean of Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts, who will accompany Bahena to Spain. “His tapa for the competition demonstrates his love of charcuterie coupled with fusing Spanish flavors with sustainable ingredients from Chicago’s only farmers’ market that operates year round.

Regardless how he scores against other students in the competition, his dish will positively reflect the quality of U.S. foods and the sophistication of our culinary education, which emphasize the value of local and regional cuisine around the world.”

About Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts
Founded in 1985, the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College is among the premier culinary-training programs in the United States, offering associate and bachelor’s degrees and certificates in culinary arts as well as associate degrees and certificates in baking and pastry. The school occupies a stunning “Riverworks” campus near downtown Chicago. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts Associate program since 1988 and the Baking & Pastry Associate program since 2008. Kendall, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2009, also operates Schools of Hospitality Management, Business and Education. Kendall College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA),, 1-312-263-0456. Kendall College is a member of the Laureate International Universities network. For more information, visit

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of