Meet the Chefs
Gerald Ford, CMC, team captain
Ford is executive chef at The Ford Plantation, Richmond Hill, Georgia. Ford received a bachelor’s degree in professional studies from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. He competes in both hot- and cold-food competitions and is a gold-medalist ice sculptor. Ford is one of 72 ACF Certified Master Chefs® in the country. He is a member of ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association.
Paul Kampff, team chef
Kampff is executive chef at St. Louis 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 is a member of Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc.
Geoffrey Lanez, CEC, team chef
Lanez is executive chef at The Patterson Club in Fairfield, Connecticut, and CEO/owner of Burrd Productions in Boston, Massachusetts. He holds an MBA in hospitality from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Lanez holds numerous medals from competing in ACF-sanctioned competitions, including the title of Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year in 2014. He is the recipient of the Johnson & Wales University Apprenti Cuisinier Special Recognition Award of Excellence. He is a member of ACF Rhode Island Chapter.
Vanessa Marquis, CEC, team chef
Marquis is executive chef at the Silo Event Center and Core Brands inBrands in Tampa, Florida. Her experience includes working at a 5-star resort and country club, opening a fine dining restaurant for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and teaching at the Institute of Technology in California. She has won several gold and silver medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions and won “Top Chef of Tampa Bay” in 2014 and 2015. She was names 2016 Chapter Chef of the Year by ACF Tampa Bay Chapter and received the ACF President’s Medallion in 2017.
Kelsee Newman, CEPC, team pastry chef
Newman is pastry arts instructor at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. She was previously pastry kitchen supervisor at Seelbach Hilton Hotel, Louisville, Ky. Newman received an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts, summa cum laude, from Sullivan University, Louisville, Ky., in 2011. She has earned several gold medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions with individual centerpieces, petit fours and plated desserts, and earned a bronze medal at the IKA “culinary Olympics” in 2012 with a chocolate centerpiece. She is a member of the ACF Kentucky Chapter.
Jesus Olmedo, team chef
Olmedo is assistant banquet chef at The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He earned an associate degree in applied science from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston. Olmedo previously served as captain of 2016 ACF Culinary Youth Team USA, receiving two silver medals in the 2016 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), commonly referred to as the “culinary Olympics,” in Erfurt, Germany. He is a member of the ACF Epicurean Club of Boston.
Will Racin, CEPC, team pastry chef
Racin is pastry chef at The Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh. Prior to joining The Duquesne Club, he gained experience in the kitchens of The Country Inn at Walden, The Hermitage Hotel and Provence Breads & Cafe. Racin is a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. In 2018, he received the ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award. He currently serves on the ACFEF apprenticeship committee and is a member of ACF Pittsburgh Chapter.