IACC, a global community that represents more than 400 venues organising and hosting meetings, recognises the vital role that foodservice plays in conference venue operations by staging its annual Copper Skillet competition. The competition, in its 16th year, was created to highlight the artistry and skills of IACC-member conference venue chefs from around the world and to honour their contributions in providing unparalleled conference experiences. Nineteen chefs from twelve conference and meetings venues across the UK will be taking part.
One of Wyboston Lakes Resort’s young chefs Leanna Bromley-Higgs won the IACC Copper Skillet Global Chef of the Year competition in 2018 when the final was held in Philadelphia, and four of her colleagues, Alex Walton, Ben Arthurs, Kaya McGowen and Richard Higgs, will be entering this year.
There are two categories of entry, a senior category (26 years of age and older) and a junior category (under 26 years). Both categories compete in the same cook-off, under the same competition rules.
The two winners from the UK heat will go on to compete in the European final in Brussels during the IACC Europe Knowledge Festival. The European Senior and Junior champions will take on those from The Americas and Australian Asia-Pacific finals at the IACC Americas Connect Conference taking place in spring 2020.
As part of the competition, chefs will be required to create two identical entrées, using ingredients from a ‘mystery basket’, one for judging and one for viewing by the audience. An independent panel of expert judges will then evaluate the dishes according to stringent criteria. All dishes created must be suitable for service in a conference centre setting.
Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, says “It’s a great honour to host this prestigious competition at our venue just after we have completed the transformation of the event catering in our Woodlands Event Centre with the new Olive Restaurant. After researching extensively what food options conference delegates want, it will be fascinating to see the ideas and creativity of top UK industry chefs in tackling this challenge.”
Mark Cooper, CEO, IACC explains “We are delighted that Wyboston Lakes Resort is hosting the UK heat of the coveted Copper Skillet competition this year. The resort is a valued partner for IACC and itself has some very talented chefs, including Alex Walton, Junior Champion of the UK heat and Leanna Bromley-Higgs who won the IACC Copper Skillet Global Chef of the Year at Americas Connect last year. We’re looking forward to welcoming some of the most talented chefs in the UK’s hospitality industry to the venue in June.”