54 The NaTioNal CuliNary review • November/deCember 2016
aCF CuliNary Team usa a competition like no other
rfurt in Northern Germany is a medieval city known as much for its perfectly starched potato
dumplings as for being Martin Luther’s alma mater. And once every four years, it becomes a
hub of international haute cuisine for a prestigious cooking event, the Internationale Kochkunst
Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition, known as the “culinary Olympics.”
Arriving from all over the world, chefs go through customs to declare such items from their
homelands as frog’s legs, oxtails and venison steaks, trout, industrial cookware, knives and other
items that the rules of the competition allow. Once through customs, the chefs speed toward their
test kitchens to create menus of food unlike anything the world has ever seen.
ACF CULINARY NATIONAL TEAM USA
Crowds of spectators press against the glass kitchen to see what the Americans are cooking.
Ben Grupe, team captain, sums up the team’s outlook. “We’re feeling really good, we’re excited
and anxious to get into the kitchen and crush it.”
A film crew moves among the team members, and cameras on 12-foot poles peer into stockpots
and over the head of George Castaneda, CEC, as he prepares the crab portion of the Alaskan halibut
and king crab appetizer. The team works together with good humor, exchanging smiles and moving
easily around each other.
Joseph Leonardi, CEC, team manager, and Tim Prefontaine, CEC, coach, both “culinary
Olympics” veterans, push the team to stay on pace. The crowd cheers and claps as they transition
to service. Corey Siegel, CEC, moves to the window to join Grupe and Castaneda, beginning a
well-rehearsed dance of plating dishes. Joseph Albertelli, Jason Hall, CMC, and Matthew Seasock,
CEC, stir the pots and sweep the line to prepare for the next flood of meal tickets.
above aNd oPPosi Te, CloCKwise
From above: 1) dark chocolate bavarian
and citrus plated dessert. 2) aCF National
Culinary Team usa celebrates earning
the overall gold medal in cold-food
competition. 3) The national team’s
cold-food buffet platter. 4) National
team’s top-hatted petits fours for the
cold-food display. 5) alaskan halibut and
king crab appetizer from the national
team’s hot-kitchen competition. 6) youth
team’s edible buffet, pictured left to right:
stafford deCambra, CeC, CCe, CCa, aaC,
team manager; lydia ross, CsC; megan
bamford; anica hosticka; Tracy morris;
marco olivares; Jesus olmedo; and shawn
Culp, CeC, mba, team coach. 7) edible
buffet items were presented to the theme
of Frank lloyd wright’s Fallingwater design
concept. 8) youth team’s carrot/coriander
mousse, kohlrabi spiced carrot salad and
spiced cracker for the edible buffet.
9) left to right: George Castaneda, CeC,
Corey siegel, CeC, and Jason hall, CmC,
in the hot-kitchen competition.
U.S. teams and individuals
gather in Erfurt for the IKA.
BY STACY GAMMILL