Celebrating More Than 50 Years of Culinary Competitions

1950’s | 1960’s | 1970’s | 1980’s | 1990’s | 2000’s

1956 - American chefs first compete on the world culinary stage at the IKA in Frankfurt, Germany; the competition dates back to 1900.

1960 - “U.S. Culinary Team” captures its first World Championship title at the IKA in Frankfurt.

1964 - U.S. Culinary Team earns 8 gold medals. ACF members and chefs travel for the first time as a group to Frankfurt to support the team and have been traveling to Germany ever since.

1968- “U.S. Culinary Team” is named the overall winner at IKA, earning the Grand Gold Award, symbolizing world supremacy in cooking and culinary skills.

1972 - Known as “United States Culinary Olympic Team,” the team wins the Grand Award at the IKA in Frankfurt. Upon their return to America they appear on the “Today” show. The public responds with thousands of letters and calls.

1976 - More than 90,000 spectators attend as “1976 US Culinary Olympic Team” ties France for third-place overall in the hot food competition at the IKA in Frankfurt.

1980 - Lyde Buchtenkirch becomes the first woman to compete on a U.S. “culinary Olympic” team. The team is named World Champions in hot cuisine for its Lamb Wyoming at IKA in Frankfurt.

1982 - “1984 USA Culinary Olympic Team” first participates in the Culinary World Cup, held during Expogast, an international gastronomy event, in Luxembourg.

1983 - Five of the twelve 1984 USA Culinary Olympic Team chefs compete in the debut International Feinschmecker Parade at Klagenfurt, Austria. The team brings home a host of awards and medals, including the Grand Prize of Austrian Competition.

1984 - At the IKA in Frankfurt, the 1984 USA Culinary Olympic Team wins first place in two of three categories, but in an unprecedented decision, judges give the World Champion title to Canada, who did not place first in any of the categories.

1986 - “U.S. Culinary Team” is named “Culinary World Cup Champions” at Expogast in Luxembourg. Food trends featured sensibility, such as garnishes that are not just decorative, as well as smaller portion sizes and thinner slices of meat.

1988 - In Frankfurt, U.S. Culinary Team earns World Championship title in hot-food cooking, establishing a new world record for most consecutive gold-medal and first place wins at IKA. This marks the first year for the pastry category at IKA.

1990 - “1992 Culinary Team USA” wins four of the five international competitions it participates in before the IKA in 1992.

1992 - 1992 Culinary Team USA’s national team sacrifices a gold medal for a more meaningful reward—solidifying the status of American cuisine in the international arena at the IKA. The team prepares American foods using American techniques, ingredients and style. They call it “eco-cuisine” and this signals the first real break from European traditions.

1994 - The team prepared cuisine that is regularly serviced in restaurants in the United States and wins the World Cup title. The United States also becomes the first nation to win the World Cup three consecutive times.

1996 - 1996 Culinary Team USA wins a gold medal in the hot food competition, gold in the cold food competition, first place overall and receives the President's Trophy at the Salon Culinaire Internationale in London at Hotelympia.

During IKA the team focused on perfecting American foods and techniques and enters with an “American Heartland” theme which features indigenous ingredients, such as salmon, lobster, trout and suckling pig. U.S. brings home the highest medal count among the 30 participating nations.

2000 - With only 19 months to prepare for the IKA, held the national team ranks sixth while the youth team wins second place in all skills. The regional team takes third place in the cold foods category and the military team earns first place in its division.

2002 - At the Culinary World Cup, held at Expogast in Luxembourg, ACF Culinary Team USA receives a gold medal for its cold food presentation and a silver medal for its three-course hot menu. In the final tally, ACF Culinary Team USA places eighth overall.

2003, January - ACF Culinary Youth Team USA 2004 places second overall at the Junior World Culinary Grand Prix at ScotHot 2003 in Glasgow, Scotland. ACF Culinary National Team USA 2004 also competes at ScotHot and wins a gold medal in the hot kitchen. The team focuses on regional, contemporary American cuisine.

2003, May - ACF Culinary Team USA 2004 is named overall gold-medal winner at the American Culinary Classic, held during the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®.

2004 - ACF Culinary National Team USA is named World Champions in hot-food cooking for the first time in sixteen years at IKA in Erfurt. The team ranks third overall in the world. The U.S. pastry team places second overall, as does the U.S. military team.

2005 - 2004 ACF Culinary National Team USA wins gold in the hot-food and cold-food competitions at the Salon Culinaire Mondial in Basel, Switzerland. The team’s combined scores lead to a second-place finish overall in cold-food.

2006 - ACF Culinary Team USA places fifth overall and wins two gold medals at the Expogast 2006 Culinary World Cup international culinary competition in Luxembourg.

2007 - ACF Culinary Team USA wins two gold medals and one silver in the cold-food competition of the American Culinary Classic, during the 2007 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® in Chicago.

2008 - ACF Culinary Team USA delivered a stellar performance at the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung International Culinary Art Competition garnering eight gold medals and and two silver medals, and with all teams placing in the top 10 overall in their categories.

2010 - ACF Culinary Team USA brings home two gold medals and places third overall in the world in the national category, and USACAT brings home gold and bronze medals and places sixth overall in the world in the military category at the Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup 2010, held in Luxembourg, Nov. 20–24, 2010.

2012 - ACF Culinary Team USA wins two silver medals and places sixth overall in the world in the national category at the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung International Culinary Exhibition, and all US teams place in the top six in their categories.