Triton Faculty Member Wins National Pasta Contest; Will Compete in Italy for World Title

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

From creating dishes inspired by fine art to preparing a new generation of chefs and restaurateurs – Triton College Culinary Department faculty member Carolina Diaz loves to share her passion for cooking, especially pasta. Her skills and passion helped earn her the title of the 2018 Barilla Pasta U.S. Master of Pasta, as she beat out top chefs from across the country this spring during the World Pasta Masters U.S. competition in Chicago. Next, she’ll take the show on the road as she prepares to compete against chefs from around the world for the international title this October in Milan, Italy. Diaz, with the assistance of fellow Culinary Department faculty member Manny Uribe, wowed judges in the U.S. competition with her winning pasta dish, which translates from Italian to ‘The Tuna Hideout.’ “I was very surprised, I was in shock,” Diaz said. “We were up against some very good chefs.”

Diaz, who is originally from Northlake, attended Triton College as a student with plans to major in psychology. She later changed course and decided to pursue a career in the culinary and hospitality industry. In addition to serving as a faculty member of Triton’s Jerome J. Drosos School of Culinary Arts, she is also the head chef at Terzo Piano Restaurant, located inside of the Art Institute of Chicago. There, the self-described pasta specialist delights guests with Mediterranean cuisine, some of which is inspired by exhibits on display at the museum. “I started making dumplings, from there I transitioned to pasta and it turned into a passion. Once I figured out I could make the dough myself, I fell in love with it. I enjoy making shapes with my fingers, it’s therapeutic,” she said. Diaz and Uribe have already begun strategizing for the competition in Italy. The three-phase contest will include a re-creation of their winning dish, followed by a ‘mystery basket’ dish and finally a traditional pasta with tomato sauce dish.

Triton’s Jerome J. Drosos School of Culinary Arts features associate degree programs in Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry, Hotel/Motel Management and Restaurant Management. For more information or to enroll, contact Jerome J. Drosos School of Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Denise Smith-Gaborit at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3624 email or visit   

Photo Caption: Triton College Culinary Arts faculty member Carolina Diaz will compete in an international pasta making competition in Milan, Italy this October. Photo courtesy: Barilla Pasta

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