Culinary Competition News & November Meeting Details


Greetings Chefs!

A Message of Thanks from Show Chairman, Joe Hardiman:

“I am happy to bring you the good news about our 2017 Annual Culinary Arts and Pastry Competition. Even though Hurricane Irma walloped us and changed the dates of the FR&L Show, and consequently our competition dates, we had a good showing of competitors, and the competition was fierce with much skill displayed by all of the competitors.

The results are as follows:

Taste of Elegance Pork Signature Recipe Competition:
1st Place Gold Medal: Michael Priola – ACF Tampa Bay Chapter
2nd Place Gold Medal: Angel Santiago – Universal Orlando Resort
3rd Place Silver Medal: Kyle Hash – Crush Eleven

Florida Pastry Challenge – Student Category:
1st Place Bronze Medal: Cristina Camacho- Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort
2nd Place Bronze Medal: Jonathan Hacker – Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort
3rd Place Diploma: Jennyfer Wagner – Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort

Florida Pastry Challenge – Professional Category:
1st Place Gold Medal: Sofiane Ait-Sghir – Four Seasons Orlando resort
2nd Place Silver Medal: Pablo A. Rodriguez Davilla – Rosen Shingle Creek
3rd Place Silver Medal: Rodrigo Nunez – Royal Pacific Hotel

Florida Pastry Challenge – Wedding Cake Category:
1st Place Silver Medal: Elizabeth Balderaz – Memorial Bakery
2nd Place Bronze Medal: Vaishali Ramjee – Royal Pacific Hotel
3rd Place Silver Medal: Jamie Barth – Sweet Shops by 4Rivers

Signature Vegetable Recipe Competition:
1st Place Gold Medal: Michael Priola – ACF Tampa Bay Chapter
2nd Place Silver Medal: Denny Roach – Walt Disney World
3rd Place Silver Medal: Haim Asher – Universal Orlando Resort

I want to do a special shout out to our chapter members who made our competition event possible. Before I mention the obvious “highly engaged and involved” participants, I want to especially thank this one specific “below the radar” participant and his team.

Chef Michael DiCarlo and his team from Universal Orlando Resort quietly managed the retrieval from the warehouse, clean, shrink wrap on a pallet, deliver, then return, shrink wrap on a pallet and get it back on the truck and return it to the warehouse for our 10 ovens and two 3-section sinks. He and his team performed admirably, and nobody involved with the competition even saw them. So the first big “Shout Out!” is to Chef Michael and Team, Chef Joe Alfano, and especially Chef Steve Jayson who facilitates this overall relationship between our chapter and the Universal Orlando Resort. Also, and of much greater significance, Chef Jayson was the Show Chairman for the previous 21 years. My mentor on this project. We absolutely could not have executed the competition event without this overall support from Universal Resort Orlando.

Our chapter President, Roger Newell, IT Director, Bob Costello, Chairman of the Board, Joe Alfano and Board of Directors member, Richard Cote all had “highly engaged and involved,” roles in the show daily as we executed the various aspects of the competition and “Daily Tasting.” They managed the set-up, scheduling, scoring, announcements, awards ceremonies; then break down and clean up. It could not have happened without their initiative and execution.

Additionally, various chapter members, and their respective students supported our event on separate days, they were: Chef Israel Santiago from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Chef Lauren Cooke from Mid Florida Tech, and Chef Marcus Herrington from Lake County Schools. Their student’s, representing each’s respective institution performed their services in exemplary fashion and contributed substantially to the success of our event.

A Culinary Arts and Pastry competition is contingent upon outstanding judges. Chef Keogh really stepped up when he accepted the “baton pass,” on incredibly short notice I might add, from Chef Reimund Pitz to be the Lead Judge for our competition. Hurricane Irma Again! Chef Pitz had a unreconcilable schedule conflict with the annual Chaîne des Rôtisseurs convention on the new show date. But that is a whole other story. Also, Chef Keogh had 3 judges who could not now participate so he was a busy fellow close in. Chef Keogh, Chef Imming, Chef Ramirez and Chef Perrott did an outstanding job evaluating and helping our competitors grow.

Also, in the background is Lynda Alfano, our Marketing Director. If you ever wondered who redesigned our website and advertised our competition, processed competitor applications, organized our sponsor brand logos, our signage package for the show, and badge list – all Lynda.

One other person that I certainly need to give a “tip of the toque and a deep appreciative bow” to is Martha Seidner, with Harvill’s Produce. Martha has managed the luncheon dining experience at the competition for many years, and, again for us this year. She managed the door like a skilled maître d, and definitely increased our contribution to the ACF Team USA 2020.

It should not be lost to anyone that in addition to all those who contributed their time and talents to make our show successful that it would not be financially feasible without the support and contributions of our sponsors. Without them there is no competition. Our sponsors were:

Competition Event Sponsors
The Culinary Source sponsored the “Florida Pastry Challenge”
The National Pork Board and the Iowa Pork Council sponsored the “Taste of Elegance” Signature Pork Recipe Competition
FreshPoint and Harvill’s Produce sponsored the “Farm to Table Vegetarian Signature Recipe Competition

Daily Tasting Sponsors
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sponsored “Grilled Cheese”
Maple Leaf Farms sponsored “Chili”

Competition Sponsors
Dole Foods
RL Schreiber
Paramount Marketing Group
Cheney Brothers
McIlhenny Co
Dawn Foods
Crooked Can Brewery

My assessment as the Show Chairman is that “We All” (that means our chapter and the members that participated and volunteers) did a really fantastic job of executing the 2017 Culinary Arts and Pastry Competition. I am truly appreciative of everyone’s participation.

Among us we have some really good ideas for next year’s competition to make it even more interesting, engaging and fun. Stay tuned.”

Save the Date – November Chapter Meeting Details:

Date: Monday, November 6th
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Place: Florida Technical College Kissimmee
Address: 3831 West Vine St Suite 50, Kissimmee, FL 34741

This is the last general chapter meeting of the year. Don’t miss it. Save the date. More details coming soon!!


Enjoy the Florida fall season and happy holidays!

Lynda Alfano
Marketing Director & Website Manager
ACF Central Florida Chapter

Post your comments here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *