Shane Brassel, Executive Chef at Charles F. Knight Conference Center in St. Louis, MO was the winner of the US position in the IACC-Americas qualifying cook-off and the right to represent the United States at the International Association of Conference Centers’ tenth annual Copper Skillet Cooking Competition.
The event was held at the Summit Executive Centre in Chicago on January 18. Other chefs from IACC chapters in North America, Europe, and Australia Asia-Pacific will join Chef Brassel at Eaglewood Resort & Spa outside Chicago, IL in March to vie for the crown of the International Conference Center Chef of the Year.
The popular Copper Skillet competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference centers around the world and to honor their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference center experience.
A graduate of Johnson & Wales, Shane started his career in historic St. Charles, MO and quickly moved on to the Ritz-Carlton St. Louis, the Dallas Omni and Dallas Intercontinental. He joined the culinary team at Charles F. Knight Conference Center in 2010 and continues to craft a menu from the freshest raw ingredients to create “innovative and unexpected” cuisine that “tantalizes as well as comforts”. Chef Brassel admits, “sometimes, that’s a challenging – but rewarding combination.”
Other IACC-Americas chefs who competed included Chef James Beatty of Dolce Norwalk in Norwalk, CT; Chef Matthew L. Pinner from The Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga, TN; and Chef Steve Van Stone of the Northpointe Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center, OH. Local judges included Michael Reich, executive chef at the JW Marriott, Chicago, and Mike Artlip and Walter Freund, both Chef Instructors at Kendall College school of culinary arts in Chicago.
Judges evaluated the dishes based on originality of the creation, technique, presentation, textures, balance of flavor combinations and hygiene of the work station. Chefs worked with a well-stocked assortment of pantry items and the mystery basket proteins included: duck breast, prawns, venison loin, along with assorted vegetables including: purple potatoes, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, shallots, salsify, apples, green cabbage, and micro greens.Chef Brassel’s winning dish was a Pan-Seared Duck Breast on a bed of Root Vegetable Hash served with White Wine Butter Poached Shrimp.