Michael Matarazzo of Rye Brook, New York, is gearing up to represent the U.S.in the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Global Chefs Challenge semifinals for the Americas.

The competition takes place June 11, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the Canadian Culinary Federation’s 2011 National Conference. The winner will represent the Americason the world stage at the Global Chefs Challenge in South Koreain May 2012 during the WACS World Congress.

“Representing the U.S.and the American Culinary Federation (ACF) in the Global Chefs Challenge is truly an honor,” Matarazzo says. “Regardless of the outcome, I will always be grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity, and I will do my very best to bring home another gold for the U.S.”

Matarazzo, executive chef at Bear Mountain Inn, Bear Mountain, New York, earned the right to represent the U.S. at the international level after winning the title of 2010 U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions, at ACF’s national convention in Anaheim, California, in August 2010.

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Matarazzo also received culinary training as an apprentice at The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. He has competed in numerous culinary competitions in the U.S.and abroad. In 2008, he served as team captain of ACF Culinary Regional Team USA, world champion in its category at the “Culinary Olympics” in Erfurt, Germany.

During the competition on June 11, five competitors will have five hours to produce eight portions of a three-course meal (appetizer, main course, and dessert) for a panel of judges. In April, competitors were given a list of required ingredients from a “mystery basket” that must be represented in their menu. The appetizer (hot or cold) must feature AACO (Australian Agricultural Company) Master Kobe flat iron steak; the main course must feature Sterling White Halibut with appropriate garnishes, including a starch; and the dessert must feature strawberries. Matarazzo will be assisted by Charles Figueroa, sous chef at Westchester Country Club, Rye, New York.

The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 15, during the President’s Ball at the close of the Canadian Culinary Federation’s National Conference and will represent the Americas in the world finals at the WACS World Congress in Daejeon, South Korea, in May 2012. There, representatives from Africa/Middle East, the Americas, Asia, Central Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and the Pacific Rim will compete for the global title.

In September 2009, Florida chef Russell Scott placed second in the WACS Global Chefs Challenge semifinals for the Americas that took place in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2010, a chef from Indonesia went on to win the worldwide title. And in the inaugural Global Chefs Challenge competition in 2008, a chef from the Netherlands won the international title, while Aidan Murphy, representing the U.S. and ACF, placed third overall and first in the food-and-wine-pairing category.

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