Toques Off to ACF Southeast Region Competition Winners

Chefs and students from across the Southeast gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Southeast Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards Jan. 13-14 at Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, North Carolina. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Southeast Region titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.

The following ACF Southeast Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles and a cash prizes at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, Orlando, July 9-13.

Southeast Region Chef of the Year

Drew Garms, Chef de Cuisine, The Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Everglades Club, Palm Beach earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. He is a member of ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association.

Garms’ winning dish featured wood roasted lamb loin, crispy lamb sweetbread, parmesan polenta, warm caponata, sautéed broccoli rabe, roasted carrots and natural lamb jus.

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Southeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year sponsored by Plugra European Style Butter

Cicely Austin, executive pastry chef, Aramark/Clemson University earned a bronze medal. She is a member of the ACF Upstate South Carolina Chapter.

Austin’s winning dessert featured passion fruit French toast soufflé, passion-mango sorbet, tropical salsa and almond financier.

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Southeast Student Chef of the Year

Daniel Lee Wernz, Student Worker, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando
Mims, Florida, and Line Cook, Mythos, Orlando, earned a bronze medal. He is a member of the ACF Central Florida Chapter.

Wernz’s winning dish featured baked maple trout topped with mousseline and herb crust; braised turnips; sautéed Swiss chard; roasted parmesan potatoes; and beurre citron.

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Southeast Region Student Team Championship Sponsored by Vitamix

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, North Carolina, members of ACF North Carolina Chapter, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score.

Winning Menu:

  • Filets de Sole Lady Egmont: asparagus tips; butter, cream, lemon and white mushrooms; fish stock; and puff pastry fleuron.
  • Petite Greens: goat cheese panna cotta; country ham crisp; pickled golden beet; marinated orange suprêmes; sea salt-walnut cracker; and maple vinaigrette.
  • Chicken Sauté with Pan Sauce: broccoli rabe and creamed rabe greens; forcemeat barquette; root vegetable dice; and dried applie-juniper chicken sausage.
  • Pomegranate and Red Wine Poached Pear: pecan cake with bourbon mousse; pear compote; pear skin crisp; pomegranate molasses; and ginger-basil sorbet.

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Thank you to all the competitors who competed! For more pictures, visit the ACF Flickr page, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Meet the Southeast Region Culinary Salon Competitors

Toques off to the ACF’s Southeast Regional Culinary Salon competitors! This year’s competition takes place Jan. 13-14 at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The competitors are facing off for a chance to represent their region in the national competition held at Cook. Craft. Create. National Convention & Show, Orlando, July 9-13. The regional winners receive round-trip airfare to Convention, a five-night stay at the Convention hotel and full Convention registration.

ACF regional culinary salon competitions are part of ACF’s Signature Series, which provides educational and networking opportunities through ChefConnect events and competitions for culinary industry professionals and students. ACF believes that competitions play a vital role in the development of the culinary craft by testing chefs’ and students’ knowledge and skills in a competitive format. To learn more about ACF competitions, eligibility and rules, visit

Root for your favorite chefs and keep up with the action by following ACF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Southeast Chef of the Year Competitors

Competition begins Jan. 13 at 12:00 p.m.

The assigned protein is a bone-in loin of lamb plus one other cut of lamb of the competitor’s choice. Competitors have 15 minutes to set up, 60 minutes to fabricate and cook, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up.

Chef Tyler Field, CEC, CCA
Executive Chef, The Club at Mediterra
Naples, Florida
ACF Caxambas Naples & Marco Island

Chef James Flack
Executive Chef, The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort/ECHO
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
ACF Golden Isles of Georgia Chapter

Chef Bob Gallagher
Senior Vice President of Culinary, TR Fire Grill
Winter Park, Florida

Chef Drew Garms
Chef de Cuisine, The Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Everglades Club
Palm Beach, Florida
ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association

Southeast Pastry Chef of the Year Competitors

Competition begins Jan. 13 at 8:00 a.m.

Competitors must use passion fruit, mango and crème fraiche in their hot/warm dessert.  A cake component such as financier, pound cake, genoise, etc., must also be included and utilize unsalted Plugrá butter. Competitors have 15 minutes tor set-up, 60 minutes to cook, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up.

Chef Cicely Austin
Executive Pastry Chef, Aramark/Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina
ACF Upstate South Carolina Chapter

Chef Joseph Cumm, CEPC
Executive Pastry Chef, Piedmont Station
Bristol, Virgina
ACF Greater Smoky Mountain Chapter

Southeast Student Chef of the Year Competitor

Competition begins Jan. 13 at 10:00 a.m.

The assigned protein is trout. Competitors are to prepare two portions of each dish. Competitors have 15 minutes to set up, 60 minutes to fabricate and cook, 10 minutes to plate and 15 minutes to clean up.

Chef Daniel Lee Wernz
Student Worker, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando
Mims, Florida
ACF Central Florida Chapter

Southeast Student Team of the Year Competitors

Competition begins Jan. 14 at 9:00 a.m.

Student teams participate in a two-part competition. In the skills phase, team members will compete in a relay-style format with 80 minutes to complete all four skills. Teams will have a fifteen-minute setup window and a ten-minute clean-up window. In the cooking phase, the assigned protein is Filets de Sole Lady Egmont. Teams have 20 minutes to set-up, 75 minutes to cook and prepare, 15 minutes for window service and 20 minutes to clean-up.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, North Carolina
ACF North Carolina Chapter

Pictured: Habiba Smallen, Jessica Olin, Nina Patterson, Emily Welch, Emma Wieber and Maxwell Theofrastous (student assistant).
Coaches: Chris Bugher, CEC, and Bronwen McCormick

Athens Technical College, Athens, Georgia,
ACF Augusta Chapter


Pictured: Hagen McNeill, Darlene Brand, Hillary Jones, Hannah McCutcheon, Brandon Webster and Casey Henry (not pictured).
Coach: Scott Howard

Keiser University, Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota Bay Chefs


Pictured: Sisavath Kiovilay, CEC, MBA, PhD (coach), Joseph VanHese, Khadijah Jones, Leroy Burton, Jr., Diana Palmer (alternate) and Robert Green.

Sullivan University, Louisville, Kentucky
ACF Kentucky Chapter


Pictured: Nancy Pifer (captain), Riley Frick, Cody Sadler, Jack Rosado, Timothy Agostinello (2nd alternate) and Breanna Baker (1st alternate)
Coaches: Robert Beighey, CEC, CCA, and Dave Wheatley, CEC

The ChefConnect: NYC Northeast/Southeast Regional Conference takes place Feb. 26-28 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Register by Jan. 20 to save $100 on the standard registration rate. Attendees who book a hotel at the Hilton Midtown by Jan. 31 receive a discounted rate of $165 (single/double) per night plus tax.

The Search is on For Young Chef 2016 From S. Pellegrino

The call for S. Pellegrino’s Young Chef is officially here! Applications are being accepted now until March 31.

How it Works

Applicants must be 30 years old or younger (born after Jan. 1, 1986) and employed as chef, sous chef or chef de partie. Young chefs need to read the rules and accept them online at the S. Pellegrino website and then register. A signature dish and photo of the dish is also required.

The semifinalist selection will be made April 1-30 with a maximum of 10 semifinalists selected for each of S. Pellegrino’s 20 world areas. Between May 1 and August 15, semifinalists in each world area will compete for the opportunity to be a finalist. The finalists will then go on to compete in Italy at the Grand Final Event, Oct. 13-15, for the 2016 award.

Discover the opportunity at S. Pellegrino’s website here. Best of luck young chefs!

Eight Chefs Make Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List

On Jan. 4 Forbes  announced its fifth annual “30 Under 30” list in categories such as tech, finance, arts/entertainment and, most importantly to us, food and drink. This year eight young chefs made the category: Thomas Allen, 27, chef de cuisine, The Modern, New York; Brian Baxter, 29, chef de cuisine, Husk, Nashville; Chris Hathcock, 29, executive chef, Gan Shan Station, Asheville, North Carolina; Deuki Hong, 26, executive chef, Baekjeong NYC, New York; Karys Logue, 27, Dominque Ansel Bakery, New York; Laura Meyer, 27, head chef, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco; Fabian von Hauske Valtierra, 25, chef/owner, Contra and Wildair, New York; and Blaine Wetzel, 29, executive chef, The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, Washington.

Judges for  the food and drink category were April Bloomfield, chef/restaurateur, Spotted Pig, The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar; Daniel Boulud, Michelin-starred chef/restaurateur, New York; Paul Ross, CEO, Edrington Americas; and Lee Schrager, found of NYC and South Beach Food & Wine Festivals.

To learn more about the chefs on this list, visit

Q & A: Angus McIntosh, USA Bocuse d’Or Competitor

The countdown for the USA Bocuse d’Or competition is coming to an end. On December 17, four chefs and their commis will face off in Las Vegas for the opportunity to partake in a grueling year-long practice schedule to prepare for the 2017 Bocuse d’Or held every two years in Lyon, France.

Meet contender Angus McIntosh, CEC, chef de cuisine of Ristorante del Lago, a modern Italian restaurant, at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado. McInTosh is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park New York, and he spent three years honing his craft as he graduated the elite Greenbrier Hotel apprenticeship program in White Sulphur Springs West Virginia.   Working at the Greenbrier under Certified Master Chef Richard Rosendale trained his eye for detail and need for fresh ingredients. McIntosh followed Rosendale to Lyon as he represented the United States in 2013 at the Bocuse d Or, the world’s most prestigious cooking competition.

What does it feel like to be chosen to compete for the USA team?
AM:  I was honestly in shock. It’s an honor to be selected and have the opportunity to learn and grow as a chef with the meteor BKB foundation. And I get the opportunity to feed the best chefs in America! The influence and historical significance of this competition is undeniable, and I look forward to being part of history in the making. I’m familiar with the unique intensity level of Bocuse d Or–it hosts the best competitors and most prestigious judge–so, again, I am simply honored to have been chosen to take part.

How will you prepare for the U.S. competition in December?
AM:  The food is key. Because the judges have seen and tasted it all, we have to elevate every aspect of the food to a new level. My commis, Tyler, and I are working tirelessly to prepare and anticipate every detail, from menu planning to execution. It’s a very large undertaking both mentally and physically. I also have amazing support from family and friends, which is priceless.

What are some of your past experiences that you feel will prepare you this competition?
AM:  Because it’s such a unique event, I really don’t think anything can truly prepare you for the Bocuse. But great cooking comes out of intense passion, focus and determination, all of which I learned during my time at the Greenbrier. Plus, having played a supporting role during the 2013 event, I believe this familiarity will be helpful in my performance.

Why do you think culinary competitions are important?
AM:  Culinary competitions are particularly important to young chefs like me. They have taught me the importance of mise en place, cleanliness and organization, which are keys to success in any kitchen. They also provide opportunities to express food in new ways and push the envelope. Of course, competitions also allow us chefs to see how our different peers approach the same ingredients.

Who were your mentors coming up in the industry and now?
  I’ve been incredibly lucky to work alongside some amazing chefs – and be coached by others. Currently at The Broadmoor Hotel, my executive chef, Bertrand Bouquin, has been an outstanding supporter of mine. Previously, I was able to help my chef and mentor, Richard Rosendale, prepare for the Bocuse d’Or, which was, of course, invaluable.