56 The NaTioNal CuliNary review • November/deCember 2016
have a thick piece of foam to put on the floor of the van, and I’ll
sit with the piece to stabilize it to absorb small shocks on the
way to Erfurt,” Chlebana says
In Erfurt, foot traffic around the national team’s display is
heavy. Spectators take in a suspended light bulb that holds an
orange soup. The buffet platter includes a spread of duck breast,
duck rillettes and duck thigh along with a colorful assortment of
marinated root vegetables accented with orange gelee. The roasted
Carolina boar chop with sweet potato, plum, bread dumpling
and Swiss chard complements the baked redfish with crawfish
étouffée, rice pilaf and braised celery. The chocolate showpiece
is a work of art.
At the awards ceremony, ACF Culinary National Team
USA earns a gold medal in cold food. They celebrate with
hugs and whoops, but their excitement is cautious. At the final
awards ceremony, the team will learn their score, which will
determine who wins the overall gold medal.
ACF CULINARY YOUTH TEAM USA
A calm, busy hum pervades the BMW test kitchen in Eisenach
as the youth team works on their mise en place. Jesus Olmedo, team
captain, remarks on the upcoming hot-food kitchen competition
in which the team is to prepare a three-course menu of 60 dishes,
“I’m feeling great and confident about tomorrow, and we’re
well-prepared for the competition. I have a lot of faith in all my
teammates and think we’re going to represent the U.S. well.”
The team departs for Erfurt at 4: 30 a.m. to prepare what
DeCambra describes as American regional cuisine. “We created
a fall menu that is seasonal,” he says. The menu reflects what
one would find in an American landscape—crispy cauliflower-
smoked trout terrine in the appetizer course and quinoa-crusted
venison loin “poivrade” as the main course protein.
Spectators line all three sides of the corner kitchen as Megan
Bamford pops the pumpkin Bavarian dessert from its mold. Cri-tiqued by the judges as a portion that is too large but an excellent
concept overall, the dessert plates from the Restaurant of Nations
come back clean. Meanwhile, spectators stop waiters to inquire
from which kitchen the dessert came. Overall, the judges yielded
the youth team a silver medal in the hot-food kitchen.
EDIBLE BUFFET—A NEW COMPETITION
ACF Culinary Youth Team USA entered the hot-food
kitchen to prepare a menu that has never been attempted in the
116-year history of the “culinary Olympics.” For the first time,
youth teams did not create a cold-food presentation. Instead,
they created an edible buffet that takes place in two parts: First,
the teams prepare and cook a menu in the hot kitchen, then,
they move up one floor to a satellite kitchen.
The youth team’s menu is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Fallingwater design concept. Shawn Culp, CEC, MBA, youth
team coach, says team members spend five hours getting it ready.
“They will work in the main kitchen for three to four hours, then
travel upstairs to the second floor to do some finishing work.”
The judges circle the display and consider the presentation, con-
cept and taste of the menu, ultimately awarding a silver medal, an
impressive achievement for the team in this new style of competition.
aCF CuliNary Team usa a competition like no other
above, CloCKwise From leFT: 1) National team’s steampunk-themed
chocolate showpiece for the cold-food competition. 2) usaCa T’s cold-food buffet
platter. 3) usaCa T’s crispy frog’s legs finger food. 4) The usaCa T team.