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Aramark Crowns Culinary Excellence National Champions
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 11/26/2019

Aramark's team of chefs from its Sports & Entertainment division bested its competitors to win the Inaugural National Finals of the Aramark Culinary Excellence (ACE) Competition -- a showcase of the company's domestic culinary talent and menu innovation -- and take home the coveted "Copper Pot."

Members of the winning team are:

Chef Stephen Aheimer -- FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

Chef Richard Grab -- Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. District

Chef Allan Wambaa -- Oregon Convention Center

Fifteen Aramark chefs, comprising five teams of three chefs from participating U.S. lines of business (Business Dining, Education, Healthcare Hospitality, Leisure, and Sports & Entertainment), competed in the intense daylong culinary challenge, in accordance with American Culinary Federation competition standards and judged by ACF Master and Certified Executive Chefs, at Aramark's Global Headquarters in Philadelphia.

"This is such a great honor and I'm so proud of the effort our team put forth to win the first-ever Aramark Culinary Excellence National Championship," said Aheimer, on behalf of the Sports & Entertainment team. "The whole experience has been a great opportunity for me, Rich and Allan, and all of the competing chefs, to demonstrate our love of food and passion for cooking."

To up the ante, in addition to competing for bragging rights, each culinary team competed on behalf of an Aramark non-profit partner. As a result of Sports & Entertainment winning the ACE Championship "Copper Pot," Back on My Feet received a $10,000 donation from the Aramark Charitable Fund.

"We're excited to have been included in this wonderful event celebrating culinary excellence and are grateful for Aramark's continued support of community initiatives and causes, such as Back on My Feet," said Ashley Kilpatrick, senior vice president of development with Back on My Feet. "While we're ecstatic the Sports & Entertainment team won the competition, we are humbled by all the hard work and attention to detail each team put into competing on behalf of their chosen organization. Thanks to Aramark's generosity, we all walk away winners!"

In the spirit of friendly competition, just for competing, all of the other teams earned a $5,000 donation for their non-profit partner, from the Aramark Charitable Fund. Those organizations and the teams they partnered with are: Boys & Girls Clubs of America (Business Dining); Hope Center for College, Community and Justice (Education); Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (Healthcare Hospitality); and National Park Foundation (Leisure).

The winning team of Chef Aheimer, Chef Grab and Chef Wambaa successfully prepared and presented a four-course menu, utilizing a mystery basket of 16 fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.

Appetizer -- Pheasant Ravioli: Pork belly escarole, Sauteed Kennett Square crimini mushrooms, Pheasant demi

Entree -- Seared Black Bass & Sous vide Gambas: Hominy risotto, Shaved Brussels sprouts, Asian pear slaw, Gochujang fume

Soup -- Butternut Squash Puree: Butternut squash, Amish goat cheese, Smoked beef tongue, Wild rice pilaf fluff

Dessert -- Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroon Bar: Ginger beer beet puree, Ruby chocolate sauce, Glass sugar

Aramark Culinary Excellence Competition is a year-long competition, culminating with a national finals, where the top three winners from each business unit form teams to compete for the honor of Aramark Culinary Excellence National Champions.

During the 2019 competition, over 100 chefs, from Aramark's U.S. Business Dining, Healthcare Hospitality, Education (Higher Education/K12), Leisure, and Sports & Entertainment accounts competed in business sector competitions.

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