Press Release

Chefs Try Out for Team USA

St. Augustine, Fla., February 21, 2002—Approximately 40 chefs began competing this month for the opportunity to become members of ACF Culinary Team USA 2004. Edward G. Leonard, CMC, AAC, national president of the American Culinary Federation and co-owner of Cantaré, an upscale Italian restaurant in Chicago, is team manager.

Tryouts began Feb. 12–13 at Elgin Community College in Chicago, where five chefs competed to ultimately earn one of 10 slots on ACF Culinary Team USA 2004. Eleven more chefs tried out Feb. 16–17 at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Tryouts will be held March 2–3 at Johnson & Wales University in Denver and March 11–12 at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky.

During tryouts, competitors spend two days on site preparing and cooking food. Chefs prepare a cold-food platter, two tasting plates, and a five-course dinner prepared hot and presented cold. Pastry chefs produce a petit four platter, a show platter, and a tasting plate, as well as six different plated desserts.

The tryouts will designate a group of finalists who will compete during the National Restaurant Association Show May 18–21 in Chicago for a place on ACF Culinary Team USA 2004. Following the final tryout competition, Chef Leonard and his coaches—Charles Carroll, CEC, AAC, Keith Coughenour, and Thomas Vaccaro, CEPC—will determine who among the final competitors will become members of the team.

The team will compete nationally and internationally, and competition will culminate in the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), or International Culinary Olympics, in Germany in 2004. Founded in 1896, the IKA, every four years, pits teams of talented chefs against their culinary counterparts from around the world. They compete to be the Olympic Winner of Nations and to win gold medals in a number of individual categories. The American team dominated several categories at the IKA held in Erfurt, Germany, in October 2000, winning six gold medals.

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The American Culinary Federation, Inc., a professional, not-for-profit organization for chefs and cooks, was founded in 1929 in New York City by three chefs organizations: the Société Culinaire Philanthropique, the Vatel Club, and the Chefs Association of America. The principal goal of the founding chefs remains true to the ACF today—to promote the professional image of American chefs worldwide through education among culinarians at all levels, from apprentices to the most accomplished Certified Master Chefs.