Lead Like 'Mike' 2013 winner Gabriela Grande

Congratulations to Gabriela Grande on Winning Lead Like “Mike” Contest

I am happy to announce that Gabriela Grande of Brooklyn, N.Y., a culinary student at Monroe College, New Rochelle, N.Y., has been named the winner of the 2013 Lead Like “Mike” contest. She will attend the 2013 ACF National Convention in Las Vegas, July 21–25, where she will be mentored by me.

Grande, a member of ACF Long Island Chapter, was selected as winner of the Lead Like “Mike” contest from a group of four other semifinalists chosen from 40 applicants. Eligible applicants had to be either a first-, second- or third-year full-time culinary student enrolled in a degree-granting culinary program at a university or college, or an apprentice in an American Culinary Federation Education Foundation apprenticeship program; an ACF member; and at least 18 years old. Entrants submitted a signed letter of endorsement from their department chair and/or school/apprenticeship director, as well as a 500-word essay describing why they aspire to be a culinary leader and how working with me at the 2013 ACF National Convention would help them reach their goal.

I was extremely pleased with the caliber of the candidates, especially the five applicants chosen as semifinalists for the interview phase of the contest. Selecting a winner was difficult, as each one was impressive. During the interview process, they expressed their excitement, spirit and passion for all things culinary, and how one day they would be a leader in the industry. I only wish that they all could have won.

My sincere thanks to all who applied, and my best wishes to the following applicants who were semifinalists in the contest:

  • Scott Anderson of Palmdale, Calif., a student at The Art Institute of California–Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Calif., and a member of ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of California
  • De’Ja Johnson of Columbus, Ohio, a student at Columbus State Community College, Columbus, and a member of ACF Columbus Chapter
  • Johnathan McBride of Herriman, Utah, a student at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City, Draper, Utah, and a member of ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.
  • Georgia McNulty of Bend, Ore., a student at Cascade Culinary Institute, Bend, and an ACF national member