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2018 Chef Challenge Judges

Chef Alex DarvishiChef Alex Darvishi, CEC, AAC, CMC
Chef Darvishi is currently the Executive Chef at the prestigious Houston Country Club in Houston, Texas where he has been employed for approximately eight years now. He has worked at several other first class restaurants, hotels and clubs around the country. Before moving to Houston, he worked at the Athletic Club of Columbus, St. Clair Country Club, La Bonne Auberge and Opryland Hotel.

In 2012 Chef Darvishi was the team manager for the gold medal winning Youth Culinary Team USA which represented the United States at the international Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. He is also the recipient of a myriad of awards including the ACF National "Chef Professionalism" Award, Academy of Chefs 'Good taste' award, and multiple gold medals in the prestigious 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004 (including a perfect score) Culinary Olympics in Germany. He was a member of the U.S. Culinary Team at the World Cup Championships in 1990 where he also won two gold medals. He has also received 30 other gold medals at both the national and state levels hot food competitions.

Chef Darvishi is a member of Chaine de Rotisseurs, James Beard Foundation, American Culinary Federation, American Academy of Chefs and Association of Culinary Professionals as well as certified executive chef and a certified international culinary judge by the World Association of Chefs (WACS).

Judge Chef HugelierChef Stafford T. Decambra CEC, CCE, CCA, WCMC, AAC
After graduating with from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1978, DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, WCMC, AAC worked in several foodservice capacities in Hawaii, his home state, from the Cruise Line Industry to the continental United States.
He recently retired and is serving as a Global Culinary Consultant. In 2005 DeCambra was inducted into the Epicurean World Master Chefs Society and in 2013 he received his Master Chef Certification from the World Association of Chef's & Cook's Society, an honor he says is a dream come true.

He is the past National Chairman of the American Academy of Chefs, the honor society of the American Culinary Federation and currently serves the National President of the American Culinary Federation.

Chef DeCambra also served on American Culinary Federation National Culinary Team USA as the 2016 ACF National Youth Team Manager. His most recent position he served as the Corporate Executive Chef for Poarch Creek Indians where Chef DeCambra oversaw all Culinary Operations for 3 different properties to include Creek Casino-Tallapoosa, Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore and the newly built Wind Creek Casino Creek-Wetumpka generating over $40 million a year in Food revenue.

Judge Chef McCallisterChef Albert I.M.Imming CMPC,CCE,AAC
Chef Imming was educated in the Netherlands with a master degree in confectionery, chocolate, Pastry and Bread baking and was Professor Emeritus at Joliet Junior College 1979-2005

Chef Imming has a total of 57 years plus experience in the Hospitality Industry and has been a Culinary Professor for the last 34. His philosophy on education and training is to provide practical culinary/pastry/baking experience in a dynamic setting, by combining both theory and practical culinary /pastry /baking skills.

He believes students must build a solid foundation for individual creativity in their profession and says,"A well rounded student appreciates the rich tradition of the culinary as a profession and as an art form, and should understand the basic business principles of a successful food service operation, and must be thoroughly prepared to enter the industry as a creative and professional culinary person."

Chef Roland E. SchaefferChef Roland E. Schaeffer, CEC, AAC, HOF
Chef Schaeffer has been a Senior Experimental Chef for Heinz U.S.A., a division of the H. J. Heinz Company for the last 22 years. He is also a Certified Executive Chef. Prior to joining Heinz in 1978, Schaeffer was Executive Chef at the Lakeview Inn and Country Club Resort in Morgantown, W. Va. He also served as chef at the Bel Air Country Club in California; Chaparral Club, Dallas, Texas; and the Sheraton Blackstone Hotel, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Chef Schaeffer competed as a member, team advisor, culinary judge and apprentice team coach of the U. S. Culinary Olympic Team, which participates in the International Culinary Competition held every four years in Germany. He received three gold medals and an honorary diploma at this most prestigious culinary competition in the world. He is a member of the American Academy of Chefs, has been Chef de Cuisine of the most leading gourmet and food societies across the United States and is an Honorary Member and Ambassador of the Chefs and Cooks Association of Pittsburgh, a chapter of ACF. In 1979, the local organization named him "Chef of the Year"

At the ACF's 1991 National Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, Chef Schaeffer was named both Chef Professionalism Award Winner and National Chef of the Year. This is the first time one individual has garnered the federation's top two annual recognition's in a single year. In 1994, Chef Schaeffer received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts from the Johnson and Wales University. In 1998, he was the recipient of the American Academy of Chefs chairman's medal and in 2000, he was inducted into the (AAC) Hall of Fame for the lifelong dedication to the advancement of the culinary profession.

Alan J Neace SR, MS, CEC, AACAlan J Neace SR, MS, CEC, AAC
Chef Neace is currently the Executive Chef and Associate Dean at the esteemed Midwest Culinary Institute of Cincinnati State College, Cincinnati Ohio where he oversees all Hospitality/Culinary/Pastry and Baking/Brewing/Dietetic academic programs and ancillary business operations which include three restaurants. MCI is where he has been employed for approximately twelve years now. Previously he has worked as the Executive Chef for Hilton Hotels and for the prestigious Coldstream Country in Ohio.

Neace acquired a Bachelors degree in Business Management at Franklin University and a Master's degree in Executive Leadership & Organizational Change at Northern Kentucky University. A staunch competitor since 1991, Neace has successfully competed across the United States, South America, and Europe garnering over 30 individual and team medals. As a competition veteran, he is now the senior coach and manager of the student culinary team at MCI.

Chef Neace is a member of Chaine de Rotisseurs, American Culinary Federation, American Academy of Chefs and World Master Chefs Society as well as certified executive chef and a certified international culinary judge by the World Association of Chefs (WACS).

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