The second annual Scott Joseph’s Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing took place Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show as part of ACF Central Florida’s Culinary Arts Competition. And for the first time in the 25 years that ACF CF has been holding these contests, there was a tie for first place.
Sharing the award – and the $1000 prize – were Takeshi Ikeuchi, above right, of Morimoto Asia and Jacob Rios of American Kitchen at B Resort.
Rios, who also won first place at last year’s competition, presented a dish of Koji-aged Duck with Sunchoke and Foie Gras Foam.
Ikeuchi’s dish was Red Snapper with Spicy XO Sauce and Yuba Roll.
Because only one First Place trophy had been produced, the judges ruled that it would go home with Rios while another one is being made. But Ikeuchi didn’t go home empty handed, he also won the People’s Choice Award, voted on by those who had purchased tickets to attend the competition and taste the dishes.
The second place trophy was awarded to Emmanuel Santiago Jr. of Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill for his entry of Beef Salpicao, a Filipino dish. Third place went to Ulas Peksun, JW Marriott, Orlando Grande Lakes, who presented House-made Bao Buns with Marinated Duck Breast and Kimchi.
Joining me at the judges’ table were, clockwise from top right, Terrence Tookes, CEC; Joe Alfano, CEC, AAC; and Nora Galdiano, CEC, AAC.
Also participating in the Challenge were: Jeffrey Rivera, Hyatt Regency Orlando; Samuel Bove, Cress, DeLand; Dennis Roach, Saratoga Springs; and Tara Valle, Centre Court, Tampa.
The cosponsors of the event were Sysco, which provided proteins to the participants, and Freshpoint, which donated spices and produce. The sous chefs were not required to use the provided ingredients.