Historically, the Chef of the Year competition featured eight club chefs who faced off in a mystery basket-style cooking competition. The chefs were randomly grouped into four teams, and during three quick-fire rounds, they had access to various ingredients, equipment and plateware. Each round lasted 20 minutes and concluded with a group of judges determining the winning team.
For the chefs brave enough to participate, the competition moved so quickly they often commented after that they were amazed they didn’t cut off
During one of our recent planning calls, the Chef to Chef coordinators and I kicked around ideas that would improve the competition for the chefs involved, ensure they keep all ten digits and better the experience for attendees watching.
Here’s what we came up with:
- Four club chef competitors will participate in the 2023 Chef of the Year competition.
- Each chef will be paired with an apprentice in advance of the competition.
- We will continue with the mystery basket and one “secret” ingredient, but the chefs will get a list of the remaining ingredients and equipment available to them in advance of the competition so they can prepare and practice. We want the competitors to put up plates representing who they are as chefs, not what they can throw together before the buzzer sounds.
- Each chef will create two dishes: an entrée and a small plate.
- There will only be one round of cooking, and there will be four cooking suites with chefs working simultaneously around the room.
- Each chef will have 60 minutes to prepare and plate their dishes. We will stagger the start times to allow for proper judging.
- The winner will be awarded a $2,000 cash prize, a full feature in the September issue of Club + Resort Chef and a seat on our Editorial Advisory Board.
Kevin Walker, CMC, will serve as the lead judge for the competition alongside two additional judges. Points will be awarded for taste, plating and originality, among other things.
Michael Matarazzo, CEC, Executive Chef of Farmington Country Club (Charlottesville, Va.) and one of the conference coordinators, will emcee the competition just as he did last year. During the lulls in the action, I will interview former competitors on stage in brief vignettes.
After the cooking concludes, the judges will tally the scores while the Chef to Chef Conference event team pulls the winners of the sponsor raffle.
At the end of the raffle, we will announce the winner of the 2023 Chef of the Year Competition.
There are more enhancements in the works, and as they come online, I promise to share.
For any chefs interested in competing in the 2023 Club + Resort Chef of the Year Competition, please apply at www.clubandresortchef.com/club-resort-chef-of-the-year-application.
And if you have any other ideas for ways we can further enhance this competition, please email, text or call me.