Toques Off to ACF Southeast Region Competition Winners

Chefs and students from across the Southeast gathered at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Southeast Regional Culinary Salon to battle it out for ACF’s annual regional awards Jan. 13-14 at Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, North Carolina. Four competitions took place at the salon to determine who would receive ACF’s Southeast 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 Southeast 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.

Southeast Region Chef of the Year

Drew Garms, Chef de Cuisine, The Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Everglades Club, Palm Beach earned a gold medal and the highest overall score. He is a member of ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association.

Garms’ winning dish featured wood roasted lamb loin, crispy lamb sweetbread, parmesan polenta, warm caponata, sautéed broccoli rabe, roasted carrots and natural lamb jus.

Southeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year sponsored by Plugra European Style Butter

Cicely Austin, executive pastry chef, Aramark/Clemson University earned a bronze medal. She is a member of the ACF Upstate South Carolina Chapter.

Austin’s winning dessert featured passion fruit French toast soufflé, passion-mango sorbet, tropical salsa and almond financier.

Southeast Student Chef of the Year

Daniel Lee Wernz, Student Worker, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando
Mims, Florida, and Line Cook, Mythos, Orlando, earned a bronze medal. He is a member of the ACF Central Florida Chapter.

Wernz’s winning dish featured baked maple trout topped with mousseline and herb crust; braised turnips; sautéed Swiss chard; roasted parmesan potatoes; and beurre citron.

Southeast Region Student Team Championship Sponsored by Vitamix

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, North Carolina, members of ACF North Carolina Chapter, earned a silver medal and the highest overall score.

Winning Menu:

  • Filets de Sole Lady Egmont: asparagus tips; butter, cream, lemon and white mushrooms; fish stock; and puff pastry fleuron.
  • Petite Greens: goat cheese panna cotta; country ham crisp; pickled golden beet; marinated orange suprêmes; sea salt-walnut cracker; and maple vinaigrette.
  • Chicken Sauté with Pan Sauce: broccoli rabe and creamed rabe greens; forcemeat barquette; root vegetable dice; and dried applie-juniper chicken sausage.
  • Pomegranate and Red Wine Poached Pear: pecan cake with bourbon mousse; pear compote; pear skin crisp; pomegranate molasses; and ginger-basil sorbet.

Thank you to all the competitors who competed! For more pictures, visit the ACF Flickr page, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.