ACF pastry, chefs and students to compete in Southeast Salon

Toques off to the ACF’s Southeast Regional Culinary Salon competitors! This year’s competition will take place at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Tucker, Georgia, Jan. 29-31.

The competitors are facing off for a chance to represent their region in the national competition held at Cook. Craft. Create. Convention & Show, Phoenix, July 15-19. The national winners will receive $5000 and the national title.

ACF Southeast Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions

The four Southeast chefs competing for U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year will have to impress the judges with four portions of a pheasant dish completed in 1 hour, 40 minutes! But these chefs are professionals and we are confident they can stand the heat. The competitors are:

Stephen Bush, CEC, of Naples, Florida, is sous chef at The Club at Mediterra, Naples. His experience includes sous chef at The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; sous chef/kitchen manager, Mac D’s Pub, Wilmington, Ohio; and prep/line cook, Spillway Lodge, Clarksville, Ohio. Bush received an associate degree in hospitality management from Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio, where he was captain of the Sinclair-Dayton Culinary Competition Team, and is a graduate of The Greenbrier’s apprenticeship program. He is a member of ACF Greater Dayton Chapter and was named the chapter’s Student Member of the Year in 2002.

Ted Polfelt, CEC, CCA, of Roanoke, Virginia, is executive chef at Jefferson Street Management Group, Roanoke. In this position, he oversees menu development and production at Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse, 419 West and Corned Beef and Co. Polfelt is also a culinary instructor at Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke. His experience includes sous chef, Blue Magnolias, Roanoke; and cook, Compass Group North America, Charlotte, North Carolina. He has an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, and has received gold medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions. Polfelt was awarded an ACF Southeast Region President’s Medallion in 2015 and was the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl team coach for ACF Southwestern Virginia Chapter. He has served as ACF Southwestern Virginia Chapter president since 2013 and was named the chapter’s Chef of the Year in 2013 and 2015.

Greg Thompson, of Orlando, Florida, is executive chef at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Orlando. His experience includes vice president of food services, Hope Haven, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina; East Coast regional executive chef, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Charlotte; and executive chef, Sfuzzi, New York. He graduated from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, with an associate degree in culinary arts. Thompson was the culinary adviser for “Stop Aging, Start Living: The Revolutionary 2-Week pH Diet That Erases Wrinkles, Beautifies Skin, and Makes You Feel Fantastic,” (Three Rivers Press, 2008) by Jeannette Graf, M.D. and Alisa Bowman.

ACF Southeast Region Pastry Chef, sponsored by Plugrá European-Style Butter

The pastry competitors will prepare four portions of a dessert that incorporates milk chocolate, banana and a tropical fruit, as well as a cake component for judges in 1 hour, 40 minutes. This is no small feat, but we believe these professionals can whip up a winner! The competitors are:

Kelly Bellmore, CEPC, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is executive pastry chef at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Her experience includes baking and pastry arts instructor, Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh; pastry chef, Soho Bakery and Café, Wake Forest, North Carolina; lead cake decorator, Mad Hatter Bakeshop & Café, Durham, North Carolina; and pastry cook, Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, Florida. Bellmore has an associate degree in pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts (formerly, Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts), Pittsburgh. She is an avid competitor and has received several gold medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions. Bellmore is a member of ACF North Carolina Chapter.

Zebulon Berry, CWPC, of Savannah, Georgia, is baking and pastry instructor at Savannah Technical College, Savannah. His experience includes chef de cuisine, Wright Square Café, Savannah; and sous chef, AVIA Savannah Hotel, Savannah. Berry graduated with associate degrees in culinary arts in 2011 and in baking and pastry arts in 2013 from Savannah Technical College. At the 2015 American Culinary Classic, Orlando, Florida, he received a gold medal and first place in the Individual Pastry Arts competition. He competes regularly and has received several gold and silver medals in individual and student team ACF competitions. Berry is a member of ACF Chefs of the Low Country and was named chapter Pastry Chef of the Year in 2015.

ACF Southeast Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.

The four young cooks vying for the Student Chef of the Year title will be preparing two portions of a dish that utilizes chicken for judges in 1 hour, 40 minutes, and this time includes plating and kitchen clean up. We are confident these young professionals have been practicing for perfection! The competitors are:

Scarlet Barrington, of Winter Garden, Florida, is a student at Valencia College, Orlando, Florida. Barrington is pursuing an associate degree in culinary management. Her experience includes culinary intern, Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta; and chef, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando. She also studied at the Apicius International School of Hospitality, Florence, Italy, spring 2015. After graduation, Barrington plans to continue her education in Atlanta and become a Certified Culinarian. Barrington is a member of ACF Central Florida Chapter and received two culinary scholarships for her participation in chapter activities.

Jonah Bucy of Fort Mill, South Carolina, is a student at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), Charlotte, North Carolina. Bucy is shift manager at JJ’s Red Hots, Charlotte, and a member of CPCC Culinary Competition Team. He has held various positions in restaurants and enjoys working catering events, helping with costing out plates, ordering food, prepping, cooking and serving. After completing the culinary program at CPCC this spring, he will pursue a career in culinary management or catering/private dining. Bucy is a member of ACF North Carolina Chapter.

Jillian Deriso, of Arcadia, Florida, is a student at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando, Florida. She served as the 2014-2015 captain of the Le Cordon Bleu Student Competition Team and competed in the 2015 Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Jeunes Chefs’ Competition, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Deriso will complete an externship at The Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande, Florida, and graduate with an associate degree this spring. Her goal is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition, continue to compete in culinary competitions and work towards earning the Certified Executive Chef (CEC) designation. Deriso is a member of ACF Central Florida Chapter.

Ruth Solis, of Gainesville, Georgia, is garde manger cook at Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta. She graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, North Carolina, with an associate degree in culinary arts in 2014. As a member of AB-Tech’s student competition team, she received silver medals at the 2014 ACF National Convention, Kansas City, Missouri; and at the 2014 ACF Southeast Region Student Team Championship, Charleston, South Carolina. Her experience includes cook, Corner Kitchen Catering, Asheville; and intern/line cook, Cherokee Town and Country Club. She hopes to one day open her own catering business. Solis is a member of ACF Atlanta Chefs Association, Inc.

ACF Southeast Region Student Team Championship, sponsored by Vitamix®

Nothing is more thrilling than watching five students work together in the kitchen for a common goal! This year’s competition looks tough, and we can’t wait to see what happens. The teams are:

Bahamas Culinary Association with students from College of the Bahamas. Addiemae Rolle Farrington and Mario Adderley are the coaches.

ACF Greater Miami Chapter Epicurean Club with students from Le Cordon College of Culinary Arts Miami. Philippe Boutemy, CEC, and Ray Rutenis, CEC, are the coaches.

ACF Atlanta Chefs Association, Inc. with students from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta. John Kanadu, CEC, CCE, CCA, and Isaac Crawford are the coaches.

ACF North Carolina Chapter with students from Alamance Community College. Brian Bailey, CCC, and Todd Wanless, CCC are the coaches.

Best of luck to all the competitors.

ACF Regional Culinary Salon Competitions are a part of ACF’s Signature Series, which provides educational and networking opportunities through ChefConnect events and competitions for culinary industry professionals and students. ACF believes that competitions play a vital role in the development of the culinary craft by testing chefs’ and students’ knowledge and skills in a competitive format. To learn more about ACF competitions, eligibility and rules, visit