The Research Chefs Association, RCA, was founded as an organization to blend the discipline of the Culinary Arts with that of Food Science Technologists. Established in 1196 RCA has grown not only to include 2,000+ members but also to coin the world Culinology.

Culinology is the fast growing discipline of practicing the blending of Culinary Arts and Food Science Skills to develop today’s finest food products.

Each year the RCA holds their annual national conference in a different city, both food scientists and culinary professionals join culinologists to discuss and observe trends, products, regulations and more. The conference hosts a series of educational sessions and includes a trade show. New to the conference for the second year in a row is the Culinology Professional Competition.

The Culinology Competition for Professionals requires the combined skill set of a Food Scientist and a Culinary Chef to compete. The ACF sanctioned competition tests the two professionals not only on their cooking abilities but also on their Culinology abilities.  The competitors are required to submit a detailed proposal about their Gold Standard Product as well as their Commercialized product for half of their score. The proposal must include things like:

  • Formulas and Recipes
  • Description and Justification of Development
  • Sell Sheet
  • Costing
  • Manufacturing
  • Plate Builds
  • Nutritional Evaluation
  • and more.

After the proposal phase the teams selected to move on then to the kitchen competition, this year located in Charlotte NC. The cooking portion of this competition is based a product match of Gold Standard Preparation to the Commercialized Product sent to the competition by the competitors. The teams prepare their gold standard recipes while being critiqued on organization, culinary technique, flavor etc; meanwhile assistants/helpers follow the re-therm instructions that come with their commercialized product.

Because the event is an ACF Sanctioned Competition the teams are evaluated by ACF certified Judges, One of which is Chef Services Group very own Walter Zuromski.

Chef Walter, has worked alongside two other Certified Chefs, to evaluate competing teams for two years now. The Judging panel evaluates each teams’ ability to produce:

  • 1 -Appetizer for fine dinning
  • 1 -Sharable appetizer for casual dinning
  • 1- Fine dining or casual dining dessert

The items produced must fit the proposed regional cuisine as well as the restaurant style or concept. This years products needed resonate North Carolina Regional Cuisine. The products are compared to their Commercialized Product while being interviewed and broadcasting to the conference and online.

At the end of the competition the Judges speak with each team to discuss areas of improvement and growth before awarding the ACF competition medals as well as the $5,000 first place prize.

Next Year the competition and conference will be held in Portland, OR; However, teams interested in competing should watch the RCA website for posting of the RFP as well as rules and deadlines.