Meet the Candidates

Arnaud Berthelier

Arnaud Berthelier, CEC®, originaire from France, is executive sous chef at The Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Berthelier learned to cook so he could travel. During his travels, he opened Sir Elly's at the Peninsula Shanghai in China, and was executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton in Egypt, and the U.S. His international influences have helped him call many different global Ritz-Carlton hotels home, as well as many Michelin Star-level restaurants throughout Europe and the U.S. His prior experience includes executive sous chef at The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, California, and sous chef for Grey Kunz at Lespinasse in Washington, D.C.


Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford, CEC®, is executive sous chef at The Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Florida. He is the winner of the Les Amis d'Escoffier competition in New York City. He earned the opportunity to work at Moulin de Mougins, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Mougins, France. He set out on his culinary journey opening the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City and became executive chef of Château Robert in Montgaillard, France. Ford competes in both hot- and cold-food competitions, and is a gold medalist ice sculptor.


Joseph Leonardi

Joseph Leonardi, CEC®, is director of culinary operations at The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. In 2009, he earned the title of U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™ at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show. Previously, Leonardi managed ACF Culinary Team USA 2016. In 2012, he served as captain of ACF Culinary National Team USA, earning a silver medal in the hot-food kitchen and a silver medal in the cold-food presentation at the 23rd Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung International Culinary Exhibition, commonly known as the "culinary Olympics," in Erfurt, Germany.


Shawn Loving

Shawn Loving, CEC®, CCA®, is Culinary Arts department chair and full time faculty at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan.  He has worked as executive chef for the U.S. men and women’s Olympic basketball teams in Beijing, China, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  In addition, he was an executive chef for the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Istanbul and the 2014 World Championships in Madrid, Spain.  As a seasoned competitor, he is the recipient of numerous awards and medals from the American Culinary Federation, and was a member of the Michigan Culinary Olympic Team in 2012.


Hari Pulapaka

Hari Pulapaka, Ph.D., CEC®, is executive chef and co-owner of Cress Restaurant in DeLand, Florida, and a tenured associate professor of mathematics at Stetson University in DeLand. Pulapaka has organized and hosted several James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camps for food advocacy; is a four-time semifinalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef: South; is instrumental in starting a food studies program at Stetson University; and has lobbied on Capitol Hill for the 2010 Child Nutrition Act to keep school lunches healthy. Pulapaka supports local farmers through his farm-to-table restaurant, maintaining an active food waste repurposing program.


Tim Recher

Tim Recher, CEC®, is executive chef at Army Navy Country Club in Alexandria, Virginia, where his culinary brigade was recognized as a Platinum Club of America in 2014 and received the ACF Achievement of Excellence Award in 2016. Recher joined the team of some of the country’s best chefs in preparing the inaugural dinner for former President Barack Obama and is the recipient of President’s Medallions and Cutting Edge Awards from the American Culinary Federation. Recher participates in many community outreach programs to train and mentor young culinary students developing the next generation of American chefs.


Seth Shipley

Seth Shipley, CEC®, CCA®, is executive chef at The Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande, Florida. During his apprenticeship at the Greenbrier Hotel, under Peter Timmins, CMC, Shipley earned two silver and two gold American Culinary Federation (ACF) medals. In 2013, he became the youngest executive chef in The Gasparilla Inn’s 100-year history. In 2014, he was inducted into the Resort Food Executive Committee, an association of food and beverage industry leaders. In 2015, Shipley earned the title of ACF Southeast Region Chef of the Year.


Travis Smith

Travis Smith, CEC®, AAC, MBA, is founder and president of Bistro Colorado Inc., in Evergreen, Colorado. He has appeared on Food Network, Emeril Live, NBC TODAY Show and CBS This Morning, and he is a published author. Smith is a 20-year U.S. Army veteran who served in senior-level staff roles throughout the world. While serving as team captain, he led the Army team to win the 2000 Culinary Olympic triple gold medal and world championship. Smith has accrued seven Best in Show culinary awards, including National Military Chef of the Year in 2005 and Colorado Chef of the Year in 2010.


Kevin Storm

Kevin Storm, CEC®, CCA®, AAC, is executive chef at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri, and holds a grand diploma from Ecole de Cuisine La Varrenne, Paris, and an associate degree from Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas. Storm’s experience includes working as executive chef at various clubs, including Top of the Tower, Topeka, Kansas; University Club, St. Louis; and Indian Hills Country Club, Mission Hills, Kansas. An avid competitor, he has earned numerous gold and bronze medals in ACF-sanctioned culinary competitions.


Randy Torres

Randy Torres, CEC®, is a chef instructor at Oregon Coast Culinary Institute in Coos Bay, Oregon. His prior experience includes working in private clubs and hotels around the U.S. In 2013, Torres received the ACF Western Region Chef Educator of the Year award. An avid competitor, he is the recipient of numerous medals, including gold medals at the Las Vegas Culinary Challenge in 1996 and 2008. From 1996 to 2004, Torres competed nationally and internationally as a member of the California Culinary Team. In 2008, he competed as a member of ACF Culinary Team USA , winning a gold medal in the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition, commonly known as the "culinary Olympics,” and in 2012, Torres coached the ACF Culinary Youth Team USA.


Amanda Zimlich

Amanda Zimlich, CEC®, is culinary director for Cargill. She has previously lead research & development culinary teams for Surlean Foods, Hillshire Brands (Tyson) and Campbell Soup Company, with a focus on product development innovation. Over the years, she has contributed to launching many successful soups, sauces and protein products in both retail and foodservice. Amanda's career highlights include being featured at the James Beard House in New York City in 2007 as a rising star chef. She has made guest appearances as a judge on Food Network's "Chopped," as well as on the PBS cooking series “KCTS Cooks” preparing signature recipes.