Aramark's Top Chefs To Compete In Inaugural Culinary Excellence Competition

Field Set for First-Ever National Finals of Aramark’s Culinary Excellence (ACE) Competition

PHILADELPHIA (September 9, 2019) – Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) today announced the winners of its business sector culinary challenge finals, setting the stage for the Inaugural National Finals of Aramark’s Culinary Excellence (ACE) Competition -- a showcase of the company’s United States culinary talent and innovation. With a team of top chefs representing participating U.S. business units (Business Dining, Education, Healthcare Hospitality, Leisure, and Sports & Entertainment), Aramark’s finest will face off in a kitchen battle for culinary supremacy, at Aramark’s Global Headquarters in Philadelphia on November 20, 2019.

“Every day, our world-class chefs enrich and nourish the lives of our customers with innovative and delicious menus,” said Keith Bethel, Aramark’s Chief Customer Officer. “Congratulations to all of the competitors and good luck to those advancing to our very first National Finals of Aramark’s Culinary Excellence Competition.”

At the industry finals, judges from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – the largest professional chefs association in North America – evaluated and scored chefs against the rigorous criteria of ACF competition standards. Competitors had 30 minutes for set-up, 4 hours for allotted cooking/service time, and 30 minutes for clean-up. The winning chefs successfully prepared and presented a four-course menu, utilizing a mystery basket containing fresh, seasonal ingredients, as well as demonstrated a mastery of cooking technique.

“All of the competing chefs rose to the challenge and demonstrated a deep appreciation for cooking,” said ACF Competition Judge and Certified Master Chef Steven Jilleba. “Their love of food, vast knowledge of cuisine and commitment to culinary excellence was evident throughout the competitions in the preparation, creativity and execution of their menus.”

The top three finishers from each business will form a team and move on to compete for the honor of being the 2019 Aramark Culinary Excellence National Champions.

“Aramark’s commitment to culinary excellence and continuous innovation is a cornerstone of our brand promise,” said Heidi Hogan, Vice President of Product Development and Culinary Innovation, Aramark. “These chefs are the best of the best, and the ACE Competition provides an outlet to showcase their expertise and passion for the culinary arts, while also allowing them the opportunity to share ideas and learn from one another.”

Over 100 Aramark chefs, from Business Dining, Healthcare Hospitality, Education (Higher Education/K12), Leisure and Sports & Entertainment across the U.S., competed individually in preliminary competitions, with winners moving onto the business sector finals.

Business Sector Finals: Winners and Finalists
(* - Top three finishers from each business sector will form a team to compete at the
ACE National Finals in Philadelphia on November 20, 2019)

 

Business Dining

Winner*

Sean Fetters
New York Life 

 

Finalist

Clint Absher
AT&T Global HQ

First Runner Up*

Dylan France
eBay 

 

Finalist

Michael Barber
Cigna-Waterside Crossing

Second Runner Up*

Lee Chamberlain
Roche Diagnostics 

 

Finalist

Samuel Yu
Johnson Controls Inc

 

 

Education

Winner*

Ryan Andress
University of North Carolina-Wilmington 

 

Finalist

Adam Dever
University of Louisville

First Runner Up*

Christopher L. Bee
Boston University 

 

Finalist

Craig Prestero, Jr.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Second Runner Up*

William Edmondson
Kent State University 

 

Finalist

Andy West
Arizona State University

 

 

Healthcare Hospitality

Winner*

Tracey A. Hopkins, Sr.
Einstein Medical Center 

 

Finalist

Mike Montes
St. Claire HealthCare

First Runner Up*

Jacob Helsabeck
Warren Memorial Hospital 

 

Finalist

Stanley Stovall
Houston Methodist Hospital

Second Runner Up*

Damon Mangano
Hillcrest Hospital

 

Finalist

Daniel Van Etten
Lifespan - Rhode Island Hospital

 

 

Leisure

Winner*

Justin Key
William F. Bolger Center 

 

Finalist

Josh Fisher
Lake Tahoe - Zephyr Cove Resort

First Runner Up*

Brian Wagner
Chauncey Hotel and Conference Center 

 

Finalist

Justin Kronen
Olympic National Park & Forest - Lake Quinault Lodge

Second Runner Up*

Scott Simpson
Ross School of Business at University of Michigan - Executive Learning and Conference Center

 

Finalist

Jason Myers
Adventure Aquarium

 

 

Sports & Entertainment

Winner*

Stephen Aheimer
FirstEnergy Stadium 

 

Finalist

Shameka Akinleye
M&T Bank Stadium

First Runner Up*

Richard Grab
Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington, DC District

 

Finalist

Kevin Fong
SAP Center

Second Runner Up*

Allan Wambaa
Oregon Convention Center

 

Finalist

Bridget Mooney
Soldier Field

 

 


 

About Aramark
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, state-of-the-art healthcare providers, the world’s leading educational institutions, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world. Our 270,000 team members deliver experiences that enrich and nourish millions of lives every day through innovative services in food, facilities management and uniforms. We work to put our sustainability goals into action by focusing on initiatives that engage our employees, empower healthy living, preserve our planet and build local communities. Aramark is recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE, as well as an employer of choice by the Human Rights Campaign and DiversityInc. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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