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Meet the Candidates

Seven chefs from across the U.S. will take the 2012 Certified Master Chef® exam, sponsored by McCormick For Chefs, at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., Aug. 4–11. Those who pass will be announced Aug. 11 at a special ceremony following the exam. The candidates are:

Ryan Baxter

Ryan Baxter, CEC®, joined the Kraft Foodservice culinary team in Chicago in May 2011 as senior executive research and development chef. He works to develop menu solutions for national restaurant chains and other customers. Before joining Kraft, he worked as culinary innovation leader for Cargill Inc. from 2008 to 2011 and was director of culinary for Cargill’s Dressings, Sauces and Oils Division from 2004 to 2008. He returned to his alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., as an associate professor in culinary arts from 1996 to 2004. During his tenure, he provided culinary training to U.S. Navy culinary specialists at the White House, Washington, D.C. Baxter was the recipient of the Marc Sarrazin Cup (CIA Team), Salon of Culinary Arts, New York, 1997 and 2000, as team manager. He was the CIA’s 2003 Faculty Member of the Year, and received Cargill’s Everest Award in 2006 and Summit Award in 2011. He is a Certified Hospitality Educator. He resides in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and is a member of ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association.

David Daniot

David Daniot, CEC®, has been executive chef at Edgewood Country Club, Commerce, Mich., since 1998. Prior to Edgewood, he worked at a number of private clubs, restaurants and hotels in Detroit area. Daniot first received his culinary “education” at age 13 in his father’s kitchen at the Detroit Boat Club on Belle Isle, prepping and washing dishes. He studied culinary arts at Macomb Community College, Warren, Mich., and earned bachelor’s degrees from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich., in business management and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in culinary management. Daniot has won more than 15 ACF medals and was named the 2008 ACF Central Region’s Chef of the Year. He also serves as a part-time chef instructor and competition team coach at the Art Institute of Michigan’s International Culinary School, Detroit. He resides in Harrison Township, Mich., and is a member of ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association.

Jason Hall

Jason Hall, CEC®, earned an associate degree from Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Pittsburgh, in 1995. His career has taken him throughout the United States, from Akron, Ohio, at Portage Country Club to Napa Valley, Calif., and to Wilmington, N.C., where he worked as executive chef at Café Sonoma. Hall has also worked as executive chef at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, S.C. In 2006, he became executive chef at Hammock Dunes Club, Palm Coast, Fla., a Platinum Club of America. Hall regularly competes in a variety of professional competitions and holds more than 15 ACF medals. Through the club, he works with many charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, James F. Holland Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Flagler County Education Foundation and Feed Flagler. In addition, Hall is an ACF-approved certification evaluator and conducts certification evaluations at First Coast Technical College, St. Augustine, Fla., where he served at the 2007 student team’s cold-food assistant coach. He resides in Palm Coast and is a member of ACF St. Augustine Chapter.

Paul Kampff

Paul Kampff, CEC®, is executive chef at St. Louis Country Club, St. Louis, where he has worked for the past 10 years. In the early 1980s, he apprenticed in Ireland and Europe, and later worked in Germany, Israel, Great Britain and Ireland in five-star, deluxe hotels and Michelin-starred establishments. Kampff previously served as executive sous chef at Sheen Falls Lodge, County Kerry, Ireland, and was awarded a Michelin star while he was there. He came to the U.S. in 1994, and worked for Aidan Murphy, CMC, AAC, at Old Warson Country Club, St. Louis. Kampff went on to serve in various executive chef positions at University Club, St. Louis; Kenwood Country Club, Cincinnati; and St. Albans Country Club, St. Louis. He is an avid competitor, having won many gold medals, and is also coach to junior culinary teams. Kampff was named Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc.’s 2009 Chef of the Year, and is also the recipient of an ACF national President’s Medallion. He resides in Saint Charles, Mo., and is a member of Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc.

Shawn Loving

Shawn Loving, CEC®, AAC®, is a 1991 alumnus of Schoolcraft College’s culinary arts program, Livonia, Mich., and has served as department chair and an instructor since 2007. He began his career in several Michigan restaurants, including Salvatore Scallopini, Detroit; Radisson Hotel Pontchartrain, Detroit; Franklin Hills Country Club, Franklin, Mich.; and Les Auteurs/Madison’s, Royal Oak, Mich.; before becoming a chef for The Walt Disney Company and Epcot, Orlando, Fla.; and EuroDisney, Marne-la-Vallé, France. Loving also worked as corporate executive chef at Race Rock International, Orlando, and as proprietor and chef at Loving Spoonful, Farmington Hills, Mich. In addition, Loving was personal chef for the Detroit Pistons’ Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups, and was the contracted in-flight caterer for the team. In 2008, he was selected as the executive chef for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball Teams during the Olympics in Beijing; however he declined the position for the 2012 Olympics in London to take the CMC exam. Loving has won numerous awards and medals from the American Culinary Federation. He resides in Farmington, Mich., and is a member of ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association.

Alan Neace Sr.

Alan Neace Sr., CEC®, AAC®, at Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cincinnati, instructs capstone courses, develops curriculum and coaches and manages the school’s student culinary competition team, which has won numerous medals. He earned an associate degree in applied business from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio. Neace has led several properties as executive chef, including J. Thomas Catering Inc., Cincinnati; Coldstream Country Club, Cincinnati; and Hilton Hotels Corporation. Neace has amassed more than 30 ACF-sanctioned national and World Association of Chefs Societies international culinary competition medals, including medals at Hotelympia, London, and the IKA, or “culinary Olympics” in Erfurt, Germany. Neace was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs, ACF’s honor society, in 2006. He resides in Florence, Ky., and is a member an ACF member of the Midwest Culinary Institute Faculty.

John Thompson

John Thompson, CEC®, joined the Audubon Country Club, Naples, Fla., as executive chef in 2011 and is responsible for overseeing culinary operations to include menu development, quality control, culinary staff recruitment and training, as well as instilling five-star standards at all of the club’s dining selections and special events. In addition, he keeps his membership stimulated with an ever-changing selection of choices in the club’s menus, and his staff passionate with culinary competitions and cooking demonstrations. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1992, Thompson held various positions at distinguished hotels, clubs and restaurants in the Virgin Islands, Texas, South Carolina and Minnesota. As such, he has developed a deep appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the foods of these regions. He resides in Naples and is a member of ACF Caxambas Chapter of Naples & Marco Island.