The American Culinary Federation (ACF) announced that after a rigorous selection process, eight talented chefs from across the U.S. have been named to the ACF Culinary Team USA 2020, the official representative for the U.S. in major international culinary competitions.

“This impressive group of professionals has earned the opportunity to represent American chefs and cuisine on the global stage, and we are more than confident that they are up to the challenge,” says ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC. “We look forward to following their progress as they train, and to cheering their successes in the coming years.”

The chefs, who were chosen after completing a multi-part application and competition process earlier this year, gathered for the first time on November 11 and 12 for a practice session in Madison, Wisconsin. The inaugural gathering, sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, included a fundraising dinner with support from Mad City ACF Chapter. The team prepared a four-course menu in a competition-style format.

In the practice sessions and fundraisers over the coming year, the chefs will work with the team’s coaches and managers to prepare their first competition at the Culinary World Cup/EXPOGAST 2018 in Luxembourg. The team will go on to compete in a variety of international events culminating in the 2020 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung, commonly referred to as the “culinary Olympics,” in Stuttgart, Germany.

“Not all chefs are great competitors, but the skills that lead to success in competition are valuable to all chefs,” says ACF Culinary Team USA Manager Reimund Pitz, CEC, CCE, AAC. “In assembling this Culinary Team USA, we looked for culinarians who demonstrated consummate skill and creativity, the ability to work as part of a team and a fierce dedication to the craft. As experienced competitors ourselves, the leadership team and I will endeavor to pass on our wisdom to these chefs, and to ensure that each of them has the resources they need to hone their abilities even further.”

The eight chefs of the 2020 ACF Culinary Team USA are:

  • Stephen Bush, CEC, team chef, sous chef at The Club at Mediterra in Naples, FL
  • Andrew Corrao, CCC, CEPC, team pastry chef, banquet/pastry chef at Bambara Restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT
  • Gerald Ford, CMC, team chef, senior sous chef at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, FL
  • Thomas Haggerty, CCC, team chef, sous chef at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, FL
  • Geoffrey Lanez, CEC, team chef, sous chef at Somerset Club and CEO/owner of Burrd Productions in Boston, MA
  • Robert Marilla, CEC, team chef, chef instructor at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC
  • Kelsee Newman, CEPC, team pastry chef, pastry arts instructor at Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Cincinnati, OH
  • Lyn Wells, team chef, sous chef at Cowboy Kitchen/Club in Wellington, UT and adjunct instructor at Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute

ACF Culinary Team USA began competing in international competitions in 1956. The 1960 team captured the first world championship honor at the IKA and repeated the distinction in 1980, 1984 and 1988. In 2012, Team USA won a silver medal in cold-food presentation and a silver medal in the hot-food kitchen, placing sixth overall. At the last IKA in 2016, the team earned the top score and the overall gold medal in culinary art in the cold-food competition and ranked fourth in the world among 30 teams.

ACF Culinary Team USA is currently sponsored by Browne Foodservice, Friedr. Dick, NewChef, Southbend, Turbo Chef and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Team managers are currently accepting applications via the website for the ACF Culinary Youth Team USA 2020 until Dec. 1.

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