The American Culinary Federation (ACF) culinary competition team received a gold medal at the Dubai World Hospitality Championship 2013, Dubai, UAE, November 16–18, giving the U.S. second place overall in the international competition. Singapore’s culinary team placed first and Australia’s team was third.

“The U.S. team worked together to represent the fresh, unadulterated flavors of American cuisine,” says Edward Leonard, team captain. “After two months and three practice sessions, we finished second against 11 other countries and achieved our goal of a gold medal based on flavors, craftsmanship and teamwork. My toque is off to my fellow chefs in pastry and cuisine. They excelled in this competition with passion, pride and a quest to be the best.”

ACF organized a team of seven chefs at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, to represent the United States at the inaugural international competition held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai. The ACF team competed against 11 other teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and Wales.

The seven U.S. chefs competing were:

  • Edward Leonard, CMC, WGMC, AAC, team captain; vice president culinary education/corporate chef, Le Cordon Bleu North America, Schaumburg, Illinois; ICA-ACF Big Apple Chapter
  • Brian Beland, CMC, executive chef/director of food and beverage, Country Club of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.; ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association
  • Joachim Buchner, CMC, executive chef, Chevy Chase Club, Chevy Chase, Maryland; ACF Nation’s Capital Chefs Association
  • Andy Chlebana, CEPC, CCA, culinary arts professor/pastry chef, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois; ACF Louis Joliet Chapter
  • Carlo Lamagna, executive chef, Benny’s Chop House, Chicago
  • Susan Notter, CEPC, director of pastry education, YTI Career Institute, Lancaster, Pa.; ACF Harrisburg Chapter
  • Austin Yancey, CEC, CCE, instructor, Le Cordon Bleu College Of Culinary Arts in Chicago; ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians Inc.

Teams were required to produce a pastry and cuisine buffet in 40 hours and 55 portions of the hot-food main course in 3.5 hours. The U.S. team featured dishes focused on well-known American-style foods, such as apple pie salad, Key West shrimp cocktail, turkey and U.S. prime beef, to highlight the country’s cuisine.

Sample of the U.S. Team Menu

Cold-food buffet

  • Autumn salad with cider-poached butternut squash, roasted grapes, and blue cheese mousse
  • American turkey platter with chestnut-stuffed smoked turkey breast, braised leg terrine, and cranberry and orange compote
  • Fig tapas with honeycomb, fig pearls, and pistachio

Hot-food buffet

  • Mushroom and horseradish crusted beef strip loin and glazed root vegetables
  • Braised beef short rib with potato dumplings and mustard butter

Dessert buffet

  • Crispy waffles with cherry compote and pistachio ice cream
  • Lemon bar with blueberry compote
  • Crispy coconut layer cake with lime curd, banana cream, and coconut white chocolate mousse

In addition to the international competition, the Dubai World Hospitality Championship highlighted Arabian culture and cuisine for visitors and international chefs by hosting an Emirati competition for Arabian home cooks, and amateur and professional chefs. The Emirati portion of the competition also provided opportunities for visitors to learn about the authentic cuisine of UAE from its traditional chefs and home cooks.

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