Six chefs from IACC‘s Americas-, Australia-Asia-Pacific- and European-member venues competed for the Global Copper Skillet at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center on Tuesday, April 4. The event served as the final stage in a three-part competition. United Kingdom and Canada chefs were named as the Global Copper Skillet winners during the IACC-Americas Awards Banquet the following day, and took home the coveted Global Copper Skillet award.
Mary Palecek, sous chef at Sundial – Woodside Conference Centre, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, took the Junior Category Copper Skillet for her winning dish of sautéed courgette (zucchini) and aubergine (eggplant), poached bass, pan fried sirloin, red pepper, tomato and coriander salsa, heritage carrots and caramelized shallots.
Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, London, Ontario, Canada took the Senior Category Copper Skillet for his winning dish of smoked paprika and garlic ribeye with Dijon red wine sauce, seared bass, avocado citrus salsa and cabernet vinaigrette dressed lettuce.
In the competition, the chefs were presented with basic pantry items along with a “mystery basket” of proteins. They were given 30 minutes to create, prepare and present their creations to local area judges.
“This year, the competition shows first-hand how important it is to our members to demonstrate their remarkable culinary expertise,” said Mark Cooper, IACC CEO. “Aside from the passion that could clearly be seen on the finalist chefs’ faces during this great global finale, throughout the country competitions this year, we saw a greater number of our members participating in the cook-off’s and we also saw a new Benelux competition added to our line up”.
For the third year in the 13-year history of the Copper Skillet Competition, IACC introduced a Junior Chef category where IACC conference venue chefs under the age of 26 competed in the cook-off.
The Copper Skillet Competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world and to highlight their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference venue experience.
Photo (from L to R): Mary Palecek & Alex Cabañas; Shane Hawkins, Kent Phillips, Regina Andersen, Mary Palecek, Daniel Heslewood and Paul Witherington; Kent Phillips & Alex Cabañas