May 12, 2017

Mayor Emanuel and the French Pastry School Award Full Scholarship to Winner of First-Ever "Mayor's Cup" as Part of Citywide Youth Culinary Competition

Mia Engelmann of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in the 49th ward wins competition of 12 finalists for world-renowned pastry program scholarship led by Master pastry chefs
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Finalists submitted their best cupcake recipe and an essay on “What Inspires You to Bake”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and The French Pastry School (FPS) today announced that Mia Engelmann of Whitney M Young Magnet High School won the first-ever Mayor’s Cup Youth Pastry Competition with her chocolate cupcake and chocolate ganache buttercream and fondant skyline appliqué.

The inaugural Mayor’s Cup is a mentoring and vocational opportunity that offers youths from all 50 wards with an opportunity to develop and showcase their baking and culinary skills.  To be considered, high school students ages 14-19 residing in the City of Chicago submitted their best cupcake recipe and an essay on “What Inspires You to Bake” to express their passion for pastry-making, baking and confectionary arts.

“When we provide Chicago’s students with the tools and guidance to develop their passions, they can do incredible things,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Mayor’s Cup has provided students with unprecedented hands-on experience and the skills necessary to pursue career opportunities in this fast-growing industry.”

Engelmann, a sophomore at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, will receive a full scholarship to the French Pastry School, valued at $23,700. Other finalists received awards such as brand-new baking equipment, high-quality ingredients, and free credits to participate in Continuing Education courses at FPS.

This competition is part of a unique collaboration between the City of Chicago and the internationally renowned French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago. Through this unprecedented youth competition, FPS has empowered Chicago students to acquire real-world apprentice experiences and to hone the skills necessary for career opportunities in the fast-growing pastry industry.

“Our school and staff care deeply about finding ways to connect with CPS students and empower those who are interested in baking with an opportunity to pursue their passion for this work,” said FPS co-founder Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer. “Students who participated in the Mayor’s Cup not only learned pastry-making skills but gained confidence, drive and focus in their pursuit of a culinary career.”

Twelve finalists representing different wards received personal mentoring and coaching from FPS master chefs (photos are available here) before they participated in today’s live competition. For the competition, each finalist baked and decorated three set types of cupcakes, which were then scored by a panel of expert judges on taste and workmanship.

Judges on cupcake taste included: Sandra Brumfield, Sweet Nouveau, FPS Alumni; Meg Galus, Boka Restaurant, FPS Alumni; Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times; Leigh Omilinsky, NICO Restaurant; and Adriana Saldana-Meadath, Flur, FPS Alumni. Judges on finalists’ workmanship included: Brett August, Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP; Jim Caldwell, Compass Group Eurest B&I; Vincent Floreani, Consul général de France à Chicago; Sarah Levy, S. Levy Foods; and Alpana Singh, The Boarding House, master sommelier and TV personality. Additional judges included: Brad Hutchins, Senior Vice President Development, Easter Seals; and Ellee Pai Hong, TV personality, actress and journalist.

“Our goal through this competition is to help young people in Chicago turn their dreams into a career,” said FPS co-founder, Chef Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F. “The Mayor’s Cup is all about inspiring local students to think big about their future and creating a path to get there. There’s nothing these young people can’t achieve if they commit themselves to it.”

The French Pastry School pathway delivers students a world-class education and certification in pastry, baking and confectionary arts. The L’Art de la Patissere and L’Art du Gateau programs boast a 91 percent graduation rate, 750 local partners for real-world learning and an average of seven job opportunities per graduate. The prestigious program attracts students from all over the world, and is conveniently located in the heart of the Loop making it easy for students from all neighborhoods to travel to. FPS is housed within the Washburne Culinary & Hospitality Institute, based at Kennedy-King College, the City Colleges' center for excellence for culinary and hospitality education.

Increasing access to youth internships and employment opportunities for students to engage in learning both in and out of school time is a top priority for Mayor Emanuel. The Mayor’s Cup competition increases opportunities for students around the city to engage in extracurricular and real-world learning that will keep them engaged and safe while they aren’t in school.  Youth employment and mentoring programs have shown to both improve academic outcomes and reduce crime involvement for participants.

Since taking office, the Mayor Emanuel has steadily increased the number of available after school and summer programming opportunities like these to allow more students the critical opportunity to gain real-world professional experience, learn new skills, and build their resumes. Most notably, the City has invested year over year to grow the Mayor’s One Summer Chicago program, increasing out-of-school work and learning summer programs to serve more than 130,000 youth since 2011.

For more information, please see and/or contact us at mayorscup AT

More on French Pastry School:
Founded in 1995, FPS has long been dedicated to supporting the City of Chicago, with local residents accounting for 30-40 percent of the school’s admissions. It strives to offer an innovative, intensive education in which students are equipped to achieve excellence in the pastry, baking and confectionary arts.

Co-founders, Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastien Canonne, M.O.F., are both recipients of the French Legion of Honour Award, which is the most prestigious award given to a member of the military or civilian by the French government (considered the equivalent of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom). Both chefs were featured in the “Kings of Pastry” documentary filmed by Oscar winner D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus: