The NACUFS Culinary Challenge is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), and is classified as a Category W - Customized Wildcard Category.
Individual competitors will have 60 minutes, with ten additional minutes for plating, to prepare four portions of an original hot entrée. The protein is a Rhode Island seafood trio of Littleneck clams, whole squid, and oysters. Competitors will need to use all three items, sourced from Rhode Island. In addition, competitors are required to fabricate the whole squid. They will be allowed to use hot or cold preparation methods, and will be able to add any other hot or cold foods to create a balanced plate.
The entrée recipe must feature the mandatory protein combination of Littleneck clams, squid, and oysters, and two "classical cuts." The "tournee" cut is NOT required for this competition. Competitors will be provided with 12 Littleneck clams, 12 oysters, and one pound of whole (4-6 medium size, previously frozen) squid, all sourced from Rhode Island.
No advance preparation or cooking is allowed. Vegetables can be peeled and salads may be cleaned and washed but not cut or shaped in any form; beans may be pre-soaked. Exceptions are chopped herbs, shallots, garlic, and mirepoix. Each contestant will be allowed up to 30 minutes of preparation time before the competition to complete these tasks.
Competitors may also bring proteins pre-marinated, but will be required to demonstrate making of the marinade during the allowed 60 minute cooking time. (Access to the kitchen before the competition will be available to allow marinating of the protein.)
Competitors are allowed to bring in only the whole and raw materials in an unprepared state in the amount stated in their recipes; however, the judges may allow variances in amounts for products that require further preparation. No finished sauces are allowed; however, basic stocks may be brought in as necessary for the assignment. No clarified consommés are allowed.
All competitors are required to pre-scale their recipes. Puff pastry, phyllo dough and Bric are allowable in the Culinary Challenge.
Contestants will work unassisted.
Contestants must provide their own knives, smallwares, additional cookware, and/or small appliances. All cookware must be induction burner compatible. No additional heat source may be used during preparation. Small appliances may not be used during preparatory time.
Smoke gun handheld food smokers are allowed.
Only the mandatory ingredient(s) will be supplied by the challenge. Each competitor will be provided with 12 Littleneck clams (live in shell), 12 oysters (live in shell), and one pound of whole (4-6 medium size, previously frozen) squid, all sourced from Rhode Island.
All other recipe ingredients are the responsibility of the contestant. All ingredients will be proctored and only those ingredients listed on the contestant’s recipe will be allowed for use.
The NACUFS Culinary Challenge (National competition) is open to the winners of the six regional Culinary Challenges. Regional competitions must be conducted in a similar manner to the national Culinary Challenge, using the same rules and judging criteria.
Competitors' institutions must be NACUFS members in good standing.
Regional Culinary Challenges are open to all culinary professionals (chefs, cooks, and production personnel) employed at member schools. Individual competitors must have worked at the member institution for a minimum of six months, on a full-time basis. The member institution may have a self-operated, contracted, or co-sourced management system.
In the event a regional winner leaves his or her institution before the national competition and is employed by a member institution in the same region, he or she may represent that region and compete in the NACUFS Culinary Challenge.
In the event a regional winner leaves his or her institution before the national competition and is no longer employed by a member institution in the same region, the region will send its second place winner to compete in the NACUFS Culinary Challenge.
Members of the Culinary Challenge committee are not eligible to compete, but other members of their institution are eligible to compete.
Applicant must submit the Culinary Challenge Entry Form completed in full, and all attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org by the entry deadline.
The recipe submitted must be in compliance with all rules outlined in the NACUFS Culinary Challenge rules for 2018.
Culinary Challenge Entry Form, found on the regional conference website, in its entirety, including an original hot entrée recipe and recipes for side dishes and sauces.
Color Photo of the original signature dish (in electronic format, preferably JPEG.)
Contestant's photo (in electronic format, preferably JPEG.)
Each recipe submitted to the national competition must bear a strong resemblance to the winning regional recipe. Providing the main ingredients are the same as those in the winning regional recipe, small alterations may be approved. To request approval, you must submit your request to the National Culinary Challenge Chair no later than 30 days prior to the national competition.
The total number of competitor slots will be decided by each region’s Culinary Challenge chair, based on space availability, and may vary from region to region, but will be limited to a maximum of 8 competitors.
Only one entry will be accepted per school.
If the region receives more entries than the total number of “regional slots”, then the selection will be made as follows:
All contestants are required to attend a pre- and post-competition briefing, at times determined by the Culinary Challenge chair.
The following equipment will be provided at the competition site:
The primary heat source for recipe preparation will be the induction burners supplied by the competition. Additionally, competitors may bring small appliances (such as food processors, smoking gun handheld food smokers, immersion blenders, or blow torches) to assist in the preparation of the recipe during the competition time. In all cases, if a competitor brings any type of appliance, it must be listed and detailed on the entry form and approved in advance of the competition by the Culinary Challenge chair.
Contestants will have a total of 80 minutes to compete:
Competitors will be penalized in scoring if either your food is not to the judges at the end of 75 minutes, if your dishes are plated up prior to the completion of the 60 minute of cooking time or you have not cleaned and exited your station at the end of 80 minutes.
Volunteers will be available to assist each competitor in cleaning and delivering plates to the judges. No other assistance is allowed.
Competition start times will be staggered with 10 minute intervals between competitors. Start times will be randomly assigned.
Three ACF-approved judges will judge the competitors, using a 100-point scale, as follows:
Organization: Total of 25 points
Cooking Skills and Culinary Technique: Total of 25 points
Taste: Total of 50 points
Contestants may lose points or be disqualified from the challenge for lack of compliance with contest rules.
Noncompliance may include, but is not limited to:
Judges will offer individual critiques to contestants at the close of the competition.
The decisions of the judges are final.
Although we intend and strive for both the National and Regional competitions to be exactly the same, some slight variations may arise at the National Competition due to a different competition venue or other unforeseen circumstances. Although we cannot eliminate all unforeseen issues we are committed to dealing with them in a professional manner to produce a fair and level playing field for all the competitors. The National Culinary Challenge Chairperson along with the lead judge of the competition has the reserved right of making final decisions on unresolved issues for what they believe to be the benefit of the competition.
First, second, and third place NACUFS prizes will be awarded based on total points:
ACF medals will also be awarded, based on the following point totals:
All contestants will receive certificates of participation.
All recipes and photos entered into the Culinary Challenge become the property of NACUFS.
By entering, contestants grant permission to NACUFS to publish and/or use in any way the materials submitted, including the recipes and names and photos of competitors.
Permission to use copyrighted materials, symbols, etc., must be verified with a copy of the permission from the copyright owner.
NACUFS shall not be liable or responsible for personal, college, or company equipment that is lost, stolen, or broken unless such equipment has been authorized in writing by the CEO for use in connection with association activities.
Mandatory Protein: a trio of Rhode Island seafood including Littleneck clams, whole squid, and oysters