OREM — Chef Todd Leonard, Utah Valley University's Culinary Arts Institute department chairman, was named the 2018 National Chef of the Year at the American Culinary Federation national convention held in New Orleans July 14-19. Leonard beat out four other regional winners.
As part of the rigorous competition, Leonard had 90 minutes to prepare a four-course menu. Assisted by two student apprentices, AnnaLis Nielsen and Lydia Harris, Leonard finished just seconds before his time expired. The judges, all master chefs, then huddled and compared tastes, presentation skills and sanitation scores.
Leonard's complicated menu consisted of:
First course: Southern braised pork cheek with dauphine potatoes, sautéed mustard greens, red pepper puree and Cajun fried shallots and peppers.Comment on this story
Second course: Oyster stew with bronzed red fish, Cajun pork cheek sausage and summer vegetables stew.
Third course: Jambalaya al la chef, pork cheek and tenderloin roulade with pork cheek sausage and red fish collar jambalaya, Creole heirloom tomato compote, Cajun cream and spicy tomato sausage with buttery sautéed asparagus.
Fourth course: Seafood trio-smoked Creole butter red fish, CT oyster Rockefeller, and Cajun red fish mousseline with cayenne butter sauce, summer root vegetable puree, sautéed sweet corn medley and glazed carrots and butternut squash.