United Kingdom and Canada Chefs Win IACC Cooking Competition

Copper Skillet winners came from Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre and Sundial – Woodside Conference Centre

IACC Copper Skillet 2017

The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) has named its top chefs. The organization recently held its annual Copper Skillet competition, pitting chefs from its member venues against one another to help spotlight the venues' high-caliber culinary offerings. The big winners this year came from venues in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Six chefs from IACC member venues in the organization's Americas, Australia-Asia-Pacific, and European chapters competed for this award at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center on April 4 -- the final stage of a three-part competition.  

Taking home the Junior Category Copper Skillet award (for chefs under 26 years of age) was Mary Palecek, sous chef at Sundial - Woodside Conference Centre in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. She won for a dish of sautéed courgette (zucchini) and aubergine (eggplant), poached bass, pan fried sirloin, red pepper, tomato and coriander salsa, heritage carrots, and caramelized shallots.

The winner of the Senior Category Copper Skillet award (for chefs 26 years and older) was Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre in London, Ontario. He earned the award for his dish of smoked paprika and garlic ribeye with Dijon red wine sauce, seared bass, avocado citrus salsa, and cabernet vinaigrette dressed lettuce.

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

"This year, the competition shows first-hand how important it is to our members to demonstrate their remarkable culinary expertise," said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC. "Aside from the passion that could clearly be seen on the finalist chefs' faces during this great global finale, throughout the country competitions this year, we saw a greater number of our members participating in the cook-offs and we also saw a new Benelux competition added to our line up."

The Copper Skillet Competition was introduced in 2004 and has proved a popular attraction both within the events industry and among the general public. 

"It is extraordinary what our IACC chefs are able to create," said Sean Anderson, vice president of operations, Sodexo Conferencing, and president of the IACC-Americas Chapter. "They have such incredible skill and passion, expressed each and every day, all around the world."