It’s typical that most want to experience a chef’s cuisine when they’ve become a public success, but what about when they’re a relatively unknown at the start of their careers? We must remember that all cooks and chefs began sans the shining accolades, and through thick, thin, and a whole lot more thick aka the journey, that is where their real story took place. And this is why it was so fun to experience the dishes of the aspiring chefs and cooking students at Intercontinental Hotel and Resort’s Ultimate Culinary Clash competition.
The second annual Ultimate Culinary Clash at the InterContinental San Francisco was part culinary student cooking competition and part scholarship fundraiser. Cooking student finalists from four InterContinental hotel regions battled against each other for a $5,000 scholarship to further their culinary careers. The personally-developed dishes were judged by a group of media, chefs and hotel executives and were based on taste, creativity and presentation. This year’s student chefs and their mentors – established chefs from four local InterContinental properties came to compete from New York, Mexico City, Cleveland and San Francisco – where one-star Michelin restaurant Luce is located.
After a lively night of sampling various dishes, the winner was announced and it was Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez, a culinary student at Anahuac University who impressed judges and wowed the crowd creating a 20-plus line deep of people throughout the evening. She was recognized for her “Tacos de Lechon” dish accented with cilantro, garlic, habanero guava foam and a red dried ant sauce on the side. She was assisted by InterContinental Mexico City’s Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes.
“With Michelin-starred chefs and celebrity restaurateurs to help develop our innovative culinary creations, the InterContinental brand’s world-class food and beverage program features signature bars and restaurants with exceptional menus that pair local flavors with global inspiration. It gives us great pride to introduce the next generation of culinary talent to our brand’s affinity for haute cuisine and support their progression as a student in a meaningful way.” – Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, VP of F&B, The Americas, IHG
The Ultimate Culinary Clash serves as an opportunity for the InterContinental brand to showcase its commitment to culinary excellence. It began four years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel’s Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from a local culinary school to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant’s Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was expanded for the second year in a row to include other InterContinental hotels from the U.S. and Mexico.
Although only one ultimate winner could be chosen, all of the students from the various Culinary Clash stages did a tremendous job putting out some pretty impressive plates. Kudos to all and excited to see what the future holds for all of you!