Chefs and students from across the Northeast gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Northeast Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards Feb. 24-25 at The Culinary Institute of New York Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Northeast Region titles for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year and Student Team Regional Championship.
The following ACF Northeast Region competition award winners will compete for their respective national titles and a cash prizes at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, Orlando, July 9-13.
Northeast Region Chef of the Year – Chef Michael Pillarella, CEC
Chef Michael Pillarella, CEC, Executive Chef, Wianno Club, Osterville, Massachusetts, earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. He is a member of ACF Rhode Island Chapter.
Pillarella’s winning dish featured pistachio crusted lamb loin, braised veal cheek croquette, parsnip purée, rosemary and mushroom bread pudding, roasted carrots, eggplant and golden raisin relish, and natural lamb jus lié.
Northeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year – Chef Maria Wu
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Chef Maria Wu, Pastry Cook, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, White Plains, New York, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score.
Wu’s winning dessert featured spiced créme fraîche ice cream, brown butter cake, citrus white chocolate flexi ganache, passion orange gel, kaffir crumble, mango curd, coconut snow, coconut tuile, mango salad and micro cilantro.
Northeast Region Student Chef of the Year – Yudelka Torres
Yudelka Torres, Student, Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score. She is a member of the ACF Long Island Chapter.
Torres’ winning dish featured a tasting of farmed Idaho Brook Trout comprising seared filet, braised baby fennel, olive oil poached tomatoes, tourné potato and “Caldeirada” sauce; trout in puff pastry with spinach and mushrooms with lemon emulsion; and tourt and bacon mousseline-stuffed shrimp, parmesan tuile and shrimp-flavored arborio purée.
Northeast Region Student Team Championship – State University of New York at Delhi
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State University of New York at Delhi, Delhi, New York, members of ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score.
- Filets de Sole Lady Egmont lightly poached with mushroom and asparagus cream sauce.
- Salad of beets, pickled grapes, fennel and orange, with goat cheese mousse and beet gelee.
- Chicken trio with fall vegetables and apple cider calvados sauce.
- Pistachio and chocolate terrine passion fruit bar, raspberry sorbet, tropical fruit and mint.