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Culinary challenge heats up ASU kitchens

March 31, 2010

Three Midwest Region chefs will be competing for top culinary honors during the ARAMARK Culinary Excellence (ACE) national competition. The ACE competition recognizes and rewards outstanding chefs throughout the organization and provides ARAMARK chefs with the opportunity to share their culinary expertise with a broader audience in an environment that is both competitive and stimulating. 

During the past week, the ARAMARK Midwest Region conducted its annual regional competition at ASU's Tempe Campus. This year’s competition featured six competitors from three different states, all vying for the opportunity to represent the region at the ACE National Competition this summer (to take place at California State University). This year’s top finishers were: first place, Eric Naddy, Culinary Supervisor at ASU's Pitchfors; and second place, Andrew Lucyshyn, executive chef at ASU's Barrett Dining Center.

Naddy has had an interest in cooking since a young age, but did not pursue it as a career until he was 30. After changing careers, he attended Arizona Culinary Institute where he graduated with a 3.87 grade point average. He has worked for 98 South, Wildflower Bread Company, and Seville Golf and Country Club while in Arizona. He began working for ARAMARK in August of 2008 at ASU, and this was his first time in the ACE competition, or any competition for that matter.

His winning menu consisted of a "bacon-wrapped pork roulade, stuffed with dates and pecans and served with braised rainbow chard and tepary bean cassoulet," and a dessert comprised of “cinnamon and vanilla Arborio rice pudding with apple and strawberry fruit compote." Naddy’s menu will be featured at Pitchforks April 7.

Lucyshyn started cooking at age 8 in his father’s deli, graduated from Scottsdale Culinary at the top of his class, and has worked at five-star properties including Stein Erickson's (Park City, UT), Mangia Italiano (Chicago), Marriot Salt Lake Winter Olympics 2001, Jackshrimp Cajun Restaurants (Southern California), and has catered many celebrity parties for people including Sting, Michael Jordan, Al Gore, Dustin Hoffman and more. His silver medal menu included "Russian fingerling potato-crusted red fish fillet, poached in extra virgin olive oil with cilantro-lime vinaigrette, garlic cumin sautéed Rainbow Swiss chard, poached leek tower filled with fennel-scented tepary bean hummus” – and dessert comprised of “organic goat cheesecake pyramid filled with pecan, mesquite honey, chocolate pecan crumble crust, brandied caramel sauce, Grand Marnier mousseline and Arizona organic date and apple confit.” 

Drew’s menu will be featured at Barrett Dining Center April 1.

Another first-time competitor from ASU was Michelle Morrison, line cook at Manzy Square, located at Manzanita Hall.  The menu she created consisted of “pecan-crusted white fish with tepary beans and apples, served with a cream cheese swiss chard turnover” and “lemon ricotta tart with strawberry compote” for dessert. Her menu will be featured at Manzy Square April 7.