Hotel Online  Special Report


 International Association of Conference Centers Taps Chef Leonard Elias
of Aberdeen Woods Conference Center for International
Chef of the Year Competition
St. Louis, MO - 1 March 2007  - Chef Leonard Elias of Aberdeen Woods Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA came one step closer to claiming the coveted Copper Skillet award by edging out four other American chef finalists at the USA Cook-off competition at the James L. Allen Center in Evanston, IL.  
The International Association of Conference Centers is gearing up for its fourth annual Copper Skillet competition which recognizes the best chefs in the industry.  The final competition will take place at IACC's annual conference to be held April 19-22 at The Heldrich in New Brunswick, NJ. 
Chef Elias prepared his winning dish based on the guidelines provided for this year's cuisine theme of Thai.  Thai cuisine is among the world's most popular and flavorful cuisines incorporating a unique blend of particular tastes: hot (spicy), sour (piquant), sweet, and always highlighted with citrus (lemongrass and lime).  Although popularly considered as a single cuisine, Thai food is really better described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main ingredients of the country, Northern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern.

Neil Pompan, President of the International Association of Conference Centers of North America, (right)
presents a plaque to winning US chef, Chef Leonard Elias of Aberdeen Woods Conference Center
in Peachtree Center, GA.
Similar competitions have been held over the past couple months around the world - including Australia, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK and Canada - all competing for the honor of sending their winning chef to represent their country at the final competition in April.  The Canadian cook-off competition, recently held at the BMO Financial Group Institute for Learning, awarded Chef Assadang Langsub of the Spencer Leadership Centre the winner and he will represent Canada at the  finals.  Chef Langsub also prepared a Thai dish based on the same guidelines.  
Contestants were provided with 50 pantry and staple ingredients to create their Thai-themed dish. Two secret ingredients (chicken and shrimp) were unveiled just prior to the start of the competition and both ingredients were to be incorporated into the final dish.

Neil Pompan, President of the International Association of Conference Centers of North America (and CFO of EMCTotalSolutions ) remarked, "the conference center chefs continue to raise the bar on this competition   Each year, the competition grows in popularity and it provides a great spotlight for the excellent chefs and culinary teams that help make the entire experience at IACC conference centers so outstanding."
Chef finalists competing in the US cook-off included:

  • Charles Chambers, Chef de Cuisine, North Maple Inn, Basking Ridge, NJ 
  • Domiano de Nicolo, Executive Chef, Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center, Peachtree City, GA  
  • Reinhard Warmuth, Corporate Executive Chef, Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, Grapevine, TX
  • The winner: Leonard Elias, CEC, Executive Chef, Aberdeen Woods Conference Center, Peachtree City, GA
Competing chefs in the Canadian cook-off included:
  • Michael Price, A.R.N.G., White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  • Chris Thomson - The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta
  • Alan Boden, Donald Gordon Conference Centre, Kingston, Ontario
  • Barry Billingham, BMO Financial Group Institute for Learning, Toronto, Ontario
  • The winner: Assadang Langsub, Spencer Leadership Centre, London, Ontario
 Celebrating its Silver Anniversary, the International Association of Conference Centers, founded in 1981, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the conference center industry. Active members meet a set of stringent Universal Criteria and agree to a Code of Ethics. Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France, England, The Netherlands, Germany and Japan. For more information, visit the website at

James M. Mahon
Global Director of Marketing & Public Relations
914 548 5835

Also See: The International Association of Conference Centers of North America Elect New Officers; Neil Pompan Elected President / October 2006
Benchmark's Brendan Slaven, Executive Chef at Glen Cove Mansion Hotel and Conference Center, Wins Global Copper Skillet Culinary Competition / April 2006

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