This year’s global finalists arrived in Fort Lauderdale having competed and won both their Country Cook-off's as well as winning their Chapter Cook-off competitions. They were already double winners and were now going on to compete to be the global champion! 84 chefs took part in 7 country and 3 chapter finals this year and IACC added a new category of entry, an Under 26 junior category.
Laura Leonetti (United States), Villanova University Hotel & Conference Center
Zachary Miller (United States), The Inn at Virginia Tech
Jesse Hughes (Australia), Vue Grande
Jeremie Duchemin (France), Dolce Chantilly Hotel and Conference Centre
Three judges included Dave Hackett, Executive Chef, Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables; Klaus Mueller, Corporate Chef at Swiss Chalet Fine Foods & Corporate Executive Chef for Haco-Swiss and Michael Cheng, PhD, CHE, Professor and Director, Food and Beverage Program, Florida International University.
Judging criteria included originality of the creation, presentation, texture, flavour combinations and hygiene standard of the work area. Chefs were presented with pantry items including fresh produce, grains and other ingredients to use in their preparation. The mystery basket of proteins included baby octopus, hanger steak, and bream. Vegetable options included: asparagus, Swiss chard, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, pears, mushrooms, shallots, potatoes. Each chef was given 15 minutes to review the items and plan their dish, and then 30 minutes for the cook-off.
The judges awarded the Senior Category Copper Skillet to Chef Michael Greenlaw for his creative dish of Filet of Hog Snapper, Seared Scallops, Hearts of Palm, Purple Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus.
Junior category Copper Skillet went to Chef Trine Thybo Tamussen for her creative dish of Soufflé Crusted Beef Striploin with Scallops, Crispy Potato, Mashed Potato, Asparagus and a Duo of Sauces.
Competition organisers, Al Morgan of Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre and Ron Stoddard of Summit Executive Centres commented "The professionalism of all 6 finalists this year was incredible. What stood out particularly, was how much value our new junior competitors brought to the competition and also in their participation in the food and beverage workshops at the conference".
IACC’s popular Copper Skillet competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference centres around the world and to honour their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference centre experience.