Beijing has come and gone. But heavyweights of the chef persuasion are headed to Erfurt, Germany, for the Olympiade der Köche—or Culinary Olympics—the biggest cook-off on the planet.
Commonly known as the IKA, the Culinary Olympics began in 1900, only four years after their athletic counterparts. The Director of German Chefs, Carl Matthäus Banzer, rallied international chefs to Frankfurt to share knowledge, demonstrate skills to spectators—and, of course, compete for the title of the world’s best chefs. Over a century later, IKA is still going strong, convening every four years and more popular than ever.
This year, the competition runs from October 19th through the 22nd and features more than 53 teams. Chefs will compete to Run a restaurant service for 110 people in real time, as well as present elaborate cold buffets in which they will attempt to craft perfect hors d’oeuvres, three-course menus, patisserie and culinary showpieces, before the final medals are awarded.
This year, The ACF Culinary Team USA is led by team adviser & manager Edward Leonard, CMC, Immediate Past President of the American Culinary Federation; competing will be Joachim Buchner, CMC, of the Chevy Chase Club, Jamie Keating of Atlanta’s Gourmet Events, Mellisa Root, pastry chef at Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Daniel Scannell, CMC, of the Carnegie Abbey Club in Rhode Island, and team captain Richard Rosendale, CEC, of Rosendale’s in Columbus, Ohio.
“The team has a great shot to win the IKA,” says team captain Rosendale, “but at this level many teams have a chance. It’ll come down to two key factors—preparation and execution.” As far as preparation goes, the chefs have been at it for years: “meeting in New York every couple of weeks,” Rosendale says, “to discuss new ideas, cook different dishes and work on timing.” As for execution? Only time will tell—and we’ll have full coverage from the front lines of the Culinary Olympics.