COCC student competes for 'Chef of the Year'

BEND, Ore. - Two young cooks from the Western Region, including a Central Oregon Community College student, will pack up their knives and travel to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for the American Culinary Federation's (ACF) Western Regional Conference at The Coeur d'Alene Resort, April 12-15, to compete for the title of ACF Western Region Student Chef of the Year.

The competition takes place at North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene, April 13.

Sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc., the ACF Student Chef of the Year Award recognizes an up-and-coming student who possesses a high degree of professionalism, culinary skill and passion for the culinary arts. At the regional competition, competitors will prepare two portions of a main dish that incorporates a whole bone-in chicken. A panel of distinguished judges will select the winner, who will be recognized at the awards gala April 15. The winner will compete for the national title and $1,000 in Las Vegas, in July. Here are the 2013 candidates:

Suzann Fillmore, CC®, of Bend Ore., has a fellowship as a sous chef at Bend's Central Oregon Community College Cascade Culinary Institute's (CCI) student-run restaurant Elevation. Her experience includes Coyote Ranch, Redmond, Ore., and the cafeteria at her local high school. She was a top student at CCI, maintaining a 3.86 GPA, and earned an associate degree in culinary arts. Fillmore grew up cooking with her family, and, inspired by her family's response to good food, decided to pursue a career in culinary arts. As a fellow at Elevation, she is learning how to incorporate sustainable food practices into her cooking and focusing on honing her upper-level culinary skills while learning how to run a restaurant. In 2010, she won a bronze medal in a state competition with the CCI student team. Fillmore is an ACF national member.

 Lyn Wells of Wellington, Utah, attends Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, and is a line cook at the Cowboy Club in Wellington. Wells has an associate degree in culinary arts and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management in spring 2013. She began in her family's restaurant as a dishwasher and busser and worked her way up to line cook by high school. Wells started competing in ProStart competitions as a teenager, which led to her decision to attend culinary school. Since attending Utah Valley University, Wells has competed in three hot-food competitions as a member of the university's culinary student team. She has received four gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal in ACF-sanctioned competitions. In July 2012, she served as an apprentice during the 2012 ACF National Pastry Chef of the Year competition for Adalberto Diaz, CEPC, the winning chef. After graduation, Wells wants to hone her culinary skills working with various chefs across the nation, and, when she is ready, open her own restaurant. Wells is a member of ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

Hundreds of chefs, foodservice professionals and students will attend this year's culinary conference in Coeur D' Alene hosted by ACF Chefs de Cuisine of the Inland Northwest. There will be educational seminars, culinary demos, networking and social functions, culinary competitions, meal events and more. For information, visit or call (800) 624-9458. Follow conference happenings on Twitter @ACFChefs or #ACFWE or on Facebook at

National and regional sponsors of the 2013 ACF events series are: Alabama Gulf Seafood; Allen Brothers; American Lamb Board; American Roland Food Corporation; American Technical Publishers; Barry Callebaut; The Beef Checkoff; BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.; California Avocado Commission; Campbell Soup Company; Canada Cutlery Inc.; Central Region State Beef Councils; Clemens Food Group; Custom Culinary, Inc.; Ecolab®; Gerharz Restaurant Equipment, Inc.; Gordon Food Service®; Idaho® Potato Commission; Idaho Preferred®; Irinox USA; Jim Beam American Stillhouse; Jones Dairy Farm; Johnson & Wales University; JTM Food Group; Kentucky Beef Council; Lactalis Foodservice; Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc.; McCormick For Chefs; MINOR'S®; Mississippi Beef Council; Mississippi Seafood Marketing; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; North Carolina Beef Council; Plugrá® European-Style Butter; PreGel AMERICA; R.L. Schreiber, Inc.; RC Fine Foods; Riviana® Foods; S&D Coffee; Sysco®; Tennessee Beef Industry Council; Tyson Food Service; Unilever Food Solutions; Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc.; Villeroy & Boch; Virginia Beef Industry Council; Vitamix® Corporation; Winston Industries, LLC; and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.


About the American Culinary Federation

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef® and Certified Executive Pasty Chef® designations the only culinary credentials accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit Find ACF on Facebook at and on Twitter @ACFChefs.

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