In the hierarchy of the professional kitchen, it’s the executive chef and chef de cuisine at the top. But often running the show, especially when the top chef is absent, is the sous chef. If you’re a sous, this event is for you.
The second annual Scott Joseph’s Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing, part of the ACF Central Florida Chapter’s Culinary Arts Competitions, will be held Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, as part of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center.
The event allows the region’s sous chefs to step to the front and demonstrate their culinary creativity. They’re challenged with coming up with “the next big thing” — the dish, ingredient or preparation that might become a trend. And for each sous to show why he or she is the chef to present it.
The winner selected by the judges will be awarded a prize of $1000.
The challenge will take place in the Tasting Arena on the convention show floor. Up to 15 contenders will cook at stations in the arena, providing plated samples to attendees of the show and to a panel of chefs for judging.
If you’re a sous chef and would like to apply for a slot, or if you’d like to nominate someone, send an email to Scott with the sous’s name, restaurant affiliation and a short bio of the candidate’s cooking history. Please include an email address and phone number for contact.
Once again the event will be open to the general public, allowing nonmembers a chance to experience the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show’s exhibition hall. Ticket information will be made available soon.
The show floor will open to guests at 10 a.m.; tasting and judging will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the announcement of the winners immediately following.
Sysco Central Florida, the event’s sponsor, is providing certain proteins for the chefs, along with various oils, spices, herbs and other basics. The proteins are:
Tenderloin heads from Certified Angus Beef
Pork loin with tender attached from Smithfield
Duck breast from Maple Leaf Farms
Florida grouper fillet from Central Florida Seafood
Chefs are not required to use these proteins but must provide any other choices themselves. Also, a limited amount of each protein is available and will be allocated on a first come basis.
Last year’s winner was Jacob Rios of B Resort and American Kitchen. Second place was Denny Roach, representing Disney’s All-Star Resort, and Edwin Fernandez of Grande Lakes Orlando took Third. Maelo Cotto of RusTeak won the People’s Choice award.
I hope they’ll all be back for this year’s challenge along with some new contenders.