Chicago, IL, March 2017… Four chefs from IACC-member properties representing the United States and Canada gathered recently to compete for the IACC Americas Chapter Cook-Off at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, where the winners secured their spot en route to the Global Copper Skillet Competition finale next month at IACC-Americas Connect in Los Angeles.

Shane Hawkins, lead cook at Stonewall Resort, located in Roanoke, WV, took the “Junior Category Americas Cook-Off Award” for his winning dish. Local judges named Hawkins the winner for his dish of Cornmeal Dusted Trout with Lemon Wine Butter, Pepper Seared Beef with a Whiskey and Shiitake Cream, Fried Fingerling Potatoes and Thyme Roasted Carrots.

Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, located in London, ON, Canada, took the “Senior Category Americas Cook-Off Award” for his winning dish of Smoked Paprika Petit Tenderloin and Horseradish Jus with Seared Trout, Asian Pear Slaw, Sweet Potato Fingerling Hash with Bacon and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

In the competition, 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.

Sean Anderson, vice president of operations, Sodexo Conferencing, and president of the IACC-Americas Chapter, commented, “It is extraordinary what our IACC chefs are able to create. They have such incredible skill and passion, expressed each and every day, all around the world. In presenting this 2017 Americas chapter finale with MPI’s Education Institute, we were able to elevate the excitement of the competition and showcase IACC’s significant culinary talent.”

For the third year in the 13-year history of the Copper Skillet Competition, IACC introduced a Junior Chef category where IACC conference venue chefs under the age of 26 competed in the cook-off.

The winners of the Americas cook-offs (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 to be held during the IACC-Americas Connect conference in April 2017 at UCLA Luskin Conference Center in Los Angeles. Here the 14th Global Copper Skillet Champion will be named.

The popular Copper Skillet Competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world, and to honor their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference venue experience.

(L to R) IACC Americas Chapter Copper Skillet finalists competition participants: Sebastien Layen, Benchmark at Deloitte University; Kent Phillips, Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre; Shane Hawkins, Stonewall Resort, Jessica Neville, NAV Centre. Photo by Scott Hewitt

(L to R): Judge Chef Tom Macrina, Judge Chef Walter Staib, Host Executive Chef Felix Maietta. Judges not pictured, Chef Dan Butler, Kip Poole, Patricia Talorico. Photo by Scott Hewitt

Top photo details (L to R): Wilmington, DE Mayor Mike Purzycki; Senior Category Winner, Kent Phillips, Executive Chef, Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre; Junior Category Winner, Shane Hawkins, Lead Cook, Stonewall Resort; IACC Americas Chapter President Sean Anderson. Photo by Scott Hewitt (L to R): Senior Category Winning Dish by Kent Phillips and Junior Category Winning Dish by Shane Hawkins. Photos by Juliana Savi Jones