Head of Culinary Arts program earns rare opportunity
Chef Scott Howard, CCE, Athens Technical College’s Culinary Arts program chair, is relishing plans for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could place him on the world stage with the American Culinary Federation global competition team.
The ACF has invited Chef. Howard to try out for the ACF’s Culinary Team USA 2016, and he will compete in June at the ACF’s Phase II/Cold Foods contest being held in Charlotte, N.C. The ACF Culinary Team USA is the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions. Chef Howard was selected by the ACF for this honor after a “thorough” review of candidates with “impressive applications,” according to the ACF invitation. Reportedly the ACF reviewed 2, 800 applicants.
The ACF Culinary Team USA consists of a national, military, regional and youth team, with each of the teams representing the United States at the 2016 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition, also known as the “culinary Olympics,” in Erfurt, Germany, according to the ACF website.
The ACF considers personality, teamwork, and attitude in evaluating potential team members, the federation website states. Candidates must possess solid work experience, tremendous talent, a passion and dedication to the culinary arts, ability to work well with a team, and an attitude to excel. They also must possess an ACF certification or be working on an ACF certification level and be certified within a year of acceptance to the team.
Dr. Flora Tydings, president of Athens Technical College, said the invitation for Chef Howard to try out in the ACH’s competition is a testament to his cooking skills and reputation, and that he will make a great representative for the college.
“We are extremely proud of Chef Howard for this honor and the opportunity for him to showcase his wonderful expertise and creative talents in the culinary field,” Dr. Tydings said. “This is a rare chance for any chef to reach a world stage, and we are thrilled not only for Chef Howard, but also for the spotlight he will bring to bear on the college as one of our own.”
Chef Howard has been preparing for this rare culinary opportunity for more than a year. Recently, he has enlisted the help of Athens Technical College Culinary Arts students Ryan Stanchek and Yvonne Sprinkle, both members of the program’s Culinary Team that took the bronze medal in the Junior Hot Food Salon category of the state culinary school competition in January. Mr. Ryan and Ms. Sprinkle have been serving in the role that chef apprentices will fill in the actual competition — keeping the chefs on task and preparing them for the next step.
During the first day of the ACF Culinary Team USA try-outs, each chef candidate will be given an hour to set up his or her kitchen and 12 hours to prepare and work on the food items. The buffet platter that will feature seafood, meat, game or fowl, is the only portion of the program that each chef needs to produce entirely during the tryouts. Chef Howard will focus his efforts on rabbit meat and is calling his platter concept “Anatomy of a Rabbit.”
In the platter competition, competitors must present the main protein in three different ways and use three original garnishes, one salad garnish, and two sauces. Each chef will display eight portions of each variation for judges to taste, plus one show plate for viewing.
Chef Howard has served as the college’s program chair for one and a half years and has worked in the culinary field for 26 years. Previously he has worked with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts as its culinary instructor with the student-operated restaurant, Lumiere. He also worked as a chef with Cateechee Golf Resort.
In the private sector, Chef Howard has owned and operated several restaurants in greater Atlanta. He has worked at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta as an apprentice, worked at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco.
He recently won a silver medal at the Inland Seafood Challenge and a bronze medal at the Halpern Wild Game Signature Dish Hot Food Competition.
Photo caption: Chef Scott Howard, photo inset, and a photo of his culinary platter displaying his various preparations of rabbit.