iaccAt the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center Chicago recently, 12 chefs from IACC-member properties across the US gathered to compete for the coveted US Copper Skillet where the winners edged one step closer to the International Copper Skillet global final in April.

A few days later, at the Bank of Montreal Institute for Learning in Toronto, IACC conference centre chefs from Canada gathered to vie for the distinction of taking home the Canadian Copper Skillet and being named Canadian Conference Centre Chef of the Year along with the right to go on to compete against the US chef at the IACC-Americas Chapter Cook-off in January.

Executive Chef Laura Leonetti from the Villanova University Hotel & Conference Center took the US Copper Skillet for her winning dish in the cook-off. Local judges named Laura the winner for her dish of venison filet with red wine shallot reduction, chili root vegetable and apple ragout, carrot green and radish salad.

Tim Lentz, Sous Chef at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre took the coveted Canadian Copper Skillet for his winning dish of spiced Red Snapper filet with a potato/bacon latke served with a lemon hollandaise sauce.

In both competitions, the chefs were presented with basic pantry items along with a "mystery basket" of proteins. They were given 30 minutes to prepare, create, and present their creations to local area judges.

For the first year in the 11-year history of the Copper Skillet competition, IACC introduced a Junior Chef category where IACC conference centre chefs under the age of 26 competed in the cook-off. In the US competition, Banquet Chef Zach Miller from The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center won that honor and will go on to compete against the Canadian Junior Chef Winner Rexy Barit, a second-year Culinary Apprentice from BMO-Institute for Learning in January at IACC-Americas Final Cook-off.

The winners of the January cook-off (one senior chef and one junior chef) will go on to compete with other chefs from IACC chapters around the world at the International Copper Skillet Competition at the 34th IACC-Americas annual conference at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, FL in April 2015 where the 11th Global Copper Skillet Champion will be named.

The 34th IACC-Americas Annual Conference is scheduled for April 14-17, 2015 at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, FL