Chef Masa Yamashita, UTC’s executive chef, earned the gold medal in the ARAMARK Culinary Excellence (ACE) national competition held in San Francisco. Earlier this year he won the gold medal in the ACE Southern regional competition.

Thirty finalists competed for a chance to win the prestigious “Copper Pot” and a medal from the American Culinary Federation (ACF), the largest professional chefs association in North America.

Yamashita was given 30 minutes to create and three hours to execute a three-course meal with ingredients from a mystery basket filled with a whole chicken, fava beans, artichokes, almonds and a whole Black Bass.

“We had practiced for a couple of months because we knew there would be a mystery basket,” said Yamashita.

Yamashita said the hard work paid off. He and his two teammates competed against ten other teams to create an appetizer, entrée, and dessert including:
-Sushi of Crispy Bass, Fava Bean Salad, Sweet-Soy Tofu and Pickled Summer Vegetable.
-Chicken roulade with Leek-Mashed Potato, Butter Poached Artichoke, Crispy Chicken Skin and Jus.
-Chocolate Decadence and Coffee Poached Pineapple with Tuile Cookie, Spiced Crème Anglaise and Spiral Caramel.

“I just want to show them the Southern chefs can cook more than biscuits and gravy,” said Yamashita.

This is Yamashita’s fourth year competing in the national competition and he has won two bronze medals in the national competition.

Five Certified Master Chefs, including Ferdinand Metz, past-president of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), judged the competition based on cooking skill, flavor, plate presentation, use of all ingredients and food safety practices.

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