ACF Culinary Team USA IKA Updates

ACF takes you to the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition, commonly known as the "culinary Olympics," Oct. 5-10, in Erfurt, Germany, as ACF Culinary Team USA and ACF members represent the United States and American cuisine in their quest for gold. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter, @ACFChefs, with the hashtag #ACF4GOLD. You can watch it live stream thanks to Oregon Coast Culinary Institute.

ACF Culinary Team USA Has Stellar Performance at IKA Garnering Gold and Silver

National Team

Congratulations to the teams of ACF Culinary Team USA on their stellar performance at the 23rd annual Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition, commonly known as the "culinary Olympics," Oct. 5-10, in Erfurt, Germany. More than 1,500 chefs representing 54 countries participated in the team and individual competitions. All ACF Culinary Team USA teams-national, military, regional and youth-finished in the top 10, with a medal count of two gold and five silver, proving that American cuisine is among the best in the world.

Military Team

ACF Culinary National Team USA won a silver medal in cold-food presentation-only one gold medal was awarded-and a silver medal in the hot-food kitchen, placing sixth overall. The military team-U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT)-won gold in cold food and silver in hot food placing fourth overall, despite facing unique circumstances and obstacles the past few months. Both the regional and youth teams encountered a couple of bumps at the IKA, from the regional team's cold-food display table arriving in Germany damaged to customs losing the youth team's vegetable shipment, but they prevailed. The regional team won a silver in cold food and placed fourth, and the youth team won a silver in cold food and gold in hot food, with a fifth-place overall finish.

Youth Team

It takes an incredible amount of dedication and commitment to compete at the international level, and ACF Culinary Team USA willingly put forth an enormous effort and gave so much of their time to prepare to represent ACF and their country on the global stage. Thank you, ACF Culinary Team USA. With pride, we salute you. We also thank our generous sponsors, who believed in ACF Culinary Team USA and offered their unwavering support.

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October 8-9

National Cold Food Table

It has been an incredibly long and intense 48 hours for ACF Culinary Team USA national, military and youth teams, with the hot-food kitchen Oct. 7 and the cold-food program Oct. 9. ACF Culinary National Team USA and USACAT both garnered silver medals and ACF Culinary Youth Team USA took the gold in the hot-food kitchen. While the youth team was elated, the national team was disappointed, because they worked hard on hot food and had their hopes set on gold. ACF Culinary Team USA Manager Steve Jilleba, CMC®, CCE®, AAC®, and Business Manager Tom J. Macrina, CEC®, CCA™, HGT, AAC®, provided words of encouragement that renewed the national team's spirit.

National Cold Food Platter

The teams went right from competing in hot food to working on their cold-food displays due this morning, Oct. 9, at 7 a.m. While the teams worked diligently, USACAT's rations NCO (noncommissioned officer) continued to search for and find just the right product needed to complete USACAT's menu. Support team members from all the teams were at the conference center setting up the cold-food tables for the morning's display. The national and youth teams made the drive from Eisenach to Erfurt at 3 a.m. through the valley on that same challenging road that the regional team had encountered with their cold food Oct. 6.

ACF Youth Team Table

This time the ride to Erfurt did not go as smoothly as it did for the regional team. Several of the youth team's pieces broke en route. Fortunately, the youth team had the necessary supplies on hand and was able to fix the pieces on-site. Despite the stress, both teams remained focused while setting their tables, and produced amazing cold-food presentations they felt confident about. National teams were not allowed to use tabletops, so ACF Culinary National Team USA presented on a white table with the focus being the food.

USCAT Cold Food Table

USACAT could be found at the display table carefully building each component and laying out each plate. The team was great at self-regulating themselves, encouraging each other to drink, eat and keep moving as though they were an hour behind. At 7 a.m., all 23 plates were presented and the table and food looked good. Initial feedback from the jury was head nods, thumbs up and words of affirmation. How that translates to a medal is unknown, but the team is hoping for gold.


Chief Russell Campbell, CEC, USACAT team manager, tells us he could not be prouder of his group of talented chefs, soldiers, sailors and coasties. They have worked under some unique circumstances in the past month; however, they kept their heads down and continued to push through to make their history their own in spite of the hurdles they had to overcome. USACAT team members enjoy feeling as though they are part of ACF Culinary Team USA.

At 7:01 a.m., all the teams of ACF Culinary Team USA breathed a sigh of relief. They had given 110 percent, including the regional team, support team and the apprentices who were by the side of the national and youth team to help whenever they could. It was team work at its best.


October 7

ACF youth Team Food

ACF Culinary Team USA's national, military and youth teams competed in the hot-food kitchen today. Tickets to each were sold out. Service was 110, with 100 portions to guests and 10 to the judges.


ACF Culinary Youth Team USA and USACAT were first up with service beginning at 12:30 p.m. The youth team arrived at the loading dock of the conference center before 6 a.m. It was a bit hectic, as other competitors were also there, frantically unloading so they could get in their kitchens. The youth team encountered several obstacles in their kitchen-water and equipment were not working. The issues were resolved, and the team quickly found its groove as if members had been competing together for a decade. Their dishes were served to perfection, and they were proud of what they accomplished.

National Main Course

USACAT began serving guests-several ACF members-as soon as their window opened. The team performed well, and the food was hot and flavorful, as noted by guests and judges. They competed on the same day as Great Britain's military team. Many members on both teams have a great relationship, so there was lots of friendly bantering during the competition. At the end of the competition, the teams exchanged items that represented their teams.

2012 Michigan culinary Olympic team

While the youth and military team competitions were coming to an end, the national team was just getting ready. They had already unloaded, and were setting up in the kitchen, focusing on the task at hand. Each team member concentrated on a designated portion of each dish, paying attention to every detail. It was an intense afternoon, but when it came time to serve, the national team pulled off a superb menu. View their menu. Siegfried Schaber, HAAC, a member of the German Chefs Association and ACF, and a past president of WACS, said it was stupendous.

ACF members have also been reaping the benefits of their years of practice. Members of the 2012 Michigan "culinary Olympics" team continued their winning streak, with Brian Beland, CMC, winning gold; Doug Ganhs, CEC, winning bronze; Shawn Loving, CEC, CCA, winning bronze; Sarah Rougeau, CSC, winning silver; and Gabriel Vera receiving a diploma.


October 6

ACF Regional Team Cold Food

ACF Culinary Regional Team USA began the ride to Erfurt at 2 a.m., as scheduled. Fortunately, the ride went smoothly, despite the road's condition. Team members finished setting up the table–which looked good, thanks to the support team's repair–on time, and were confident they did a good job. Judging started at 7 a.m. After checking out their competition, the team returned to the school to clean up and try to get some sleep while they waited for the results.

ACF Regional Team With Chef Ty

When the results were announced, ACF Culinary Regional Team USA had won a silver medal. The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes received a bronze medal. According to the daily results for the regional teams posted Oct. 6 on IKA's website, the following were awarded: three silver medals, three bronze medals and four diplomas. No gold medals were awarded. The regional team is participating in cold food only, so this concluded IKA for them. However, they will have to wait for the closing ceremonies to find out where they placed.

Regional Team Cold Food

ACF Culinary Team USA's national, military and youth teams worked feverishly on hot food all day, as they were to compete the next day, Oct. 7. Last-minute changes were made to the national team's menu to enhance flavor and look.

Hawaiian Hula - By Stafford DeCambra

Meanwhile, the support team was out shopping for vegetables for the youth team at a local farmers market in Eisenach, located in the vicinity of the school. When the support team went to customs to pick up the vegetables Oct. 5, an eight-hour round trip, they learned that customs had shipped them somewhere, but the big question was where, as they were unable to be tracked or located. The support team found most of the items needed, fresh from local farmers.

Individual competitions have been just as intense as the team competitions. Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, a member of ACF Poarch Creek Chapter, Inc., and AAC chair, won a gold medal for his Hawaiian Hula Dancer Chocolate Sculpture. Members of the 2012 Michigan "culinary Olympics" team from ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association have also been showing up the competition, with John Miller, CEC, winning a gold medal and Gabriel Vera winning a bronze medal. In addition, Woojay Poynter, CSC, a member of ACF Bay Area Chefs Association of Oregon, won a gold medal.

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October 5

Teams Marching in Parade of Nations

Today is officially the start of the IKA with the opening ceremony and Parade of Nations in the afternoon. This made for a busy day for ACF Culinary Team USA. All the teams spent the morning working on hot and cold food. In addition, finishing touches were made to the regional team's table.

National Team Members at Opening Ceremony

In the afternoon, the national and youth teams and some of the military team attended the opening ceremony and marched in the Parade of Nations. It was exciting and emotional for the chefs, as they proudly represented the U.S. Following the ceremony, the teams had the opportunity to see the hot-food kitchens. This is their only chance to inspect them prior to competition. Mental notes were made as to where everything was located, what equipment was available, etc. The youth team had a bit of a scare, as they thought they were going to have to share kitchen supplies with a competitor team. Luckily, that was not the case, as it turned out to be an error in German to English translation.


Several members of the military team, as well as the regional team, did not attend the ceremony. The military members remained behind working on their cold-food display, because the team only arrived yesterday. The regional team worked frantically on their cold-food presentation, as it had to be set for judging by 7 a.m. Oct. 6. While the regional team was working, the support team took the table to the conference center to set it up.


It is 70 km, about an hour's car drive, from the host school where the national, regional and youth teams are to the conference center in Erfurt where IKA is taking place. However, the school is located at the bottom of a valley with a long, winding, bumpy road. This will make it challenging to transport the cold-food platters safely and have them arrive in good condition. In addition, the road is wet, and it will be dark at 2 a.m. when the team and the platters depart for the conference center.

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October 4

Macrina and Buchner pick up supplies while teams work

The teams and the support team for ACF Culinary Team USA encountered a few bumps today, but overcame them with tenacity, patience and skill. The regional team's tabletop was damaged en route to Germany and arrived in poor condition. The support team assessed the table and determined how best to fix it and what was needed. While team members remained in the school's kitchen working, the support team made the drive to Erfurt. Food and supplies were purchased from a grocery store, where other IKA teams were also shopping, and wood, paint and putty were bought at a hardware store for the table. Meanwhile, the youth team's shipment of vegetables was held up in customs and would not be delivered today as scheduled. Fortunately, it cleared late afternoon and will be picked up tomorrow, Oct. 5, by support team members.


Regional Team at Work

National, regional and youth team members carried on preparing and practicing in the kitchen. The regional team continued working on its cold-food display and platters for Oct. 6, while the national and youth team members concentrated on both their cold- and hot-food menus. Plans of the hot-food kitchen layout were provided, enabling the teams to further refine their strategy to win the hot-food portion of the competition.

The relaxation of yesterday by the national, regional and youth teams has been replaced by sheer determination. Now acclimated to the time change, they are prepared, mentally and physically, to compete against some of the best chefs in the world and be victorious.

U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team

Meanwhile, it was a busy day for the military team, U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT). They arrived in Erfurt at 3 p.m. after a long night and day of traveling. They wasted no time getting settled at the hotel and in their host kitchen./P>

IKA Schedule

October 3

National Team Members reviewing cuts of meat.

Today is a national holiday in Germany in honor of the 1990 reunification of former East Germany and West Germany, but it is not a day of rest for ACF Culinary Team USA. The national, regional and youth teams arrived at the host school bright and early to start their day of prepping. Strategic meetings took place with each team and Steve Jilleba, CMC, CCE, AAC, manager; Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, HGT, AAC, business manager; and Joachim Buchner, CMC, coach. Schedules and assignments were reviewed and discussed at length.

The teams spent the day working on their cold-food platters and preparing for the hot-food segment of the competition. Everything was meticulously reviewed, from the plates to the cuts of meat. A small group of students from the local school came to provide support to the teams, prepare lunch and dinner, and locate equipment and food supplies in the kitchens.

Regional Team members working on the cold-food display

Overall, it was a relaxed day, with teams working together. Team members are excited and feel good. The youth team wrapped up their kitchen work at 6 p.m. The national team is slated to end around 9 p.m. and the regional team, 11 p.m., but it could be later. The regional team, which does only a cold-food display, is the first to compete Oct. 6.

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October 2

The team shops for some essentials for tomorrow

ACF Culinary Team USA arrived in Germany today for IKA, just days before the beginning of this intense competition. After an overnight flight to Frankfurt and 4-hour bus trip to Eisenach, the team finally arrived in the afternoon at TBZ Eisenach, a technical school that is graciously hosting the team. Chef Sören Billhardt, the school's culinary department chair, greeted the team and took them to the kitchen area to unpack.

Afterward, the team made a quick trip to the grocery store for fresh ingredients for tomorrow's practice. October 3 is German Unity Day (Tag der Deutschen Einheit), a national holiday in Germany, and much like America's national holidays, all stores will be closed.

After an exhausting day of travel, Team USA is ready for some dinner and sleep! Find more photos from Germany on Facebook and follow us at @ACFChefs on Twitter.

October 1

Chef Grupe, Chef Tancredi and Chef Leonardi of ACF Culinary Team USA at the airport, ready to board for Germany

…And they're off! ACF Culinary Team USA departs today for Germany in preparation for IKA, the "culinary Olympics." Teams from around the world will be competing for the gold in both hot and cold food categories, and we can't wait to see what our teams present! The team will arrive in Germany tomorrow morning and will drive to Eisenach to unpack equipment, check in to the hotel and do some grocery shopping.

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Safe travels to our competitors! Wish them luck on Facebook and find daily updates on Twitter at @ACFChefs.