Ivy Tech Community College Student Trish LeBlanc Wins American Culinary Federation’s Be Like “Mike” Contest

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Trish LeBlanc of Indianapolis, a culinary student at Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana, Indianapolis, was named winner of the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Be Like “Mike” contest and will shadow ACF National President Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, at the 2010 ACF National Convention, Aug. 2-5, in Anaheim, Calif. Airfare, accommodations and a full registration to the convention will be provided.

LeBlanc was selected as the winner of the Be Like “Mike” contest from a host of national candidates. In order to be eligible to apply applicants had to be either a first-, second- or third-year full-time culinary student enrolled in a degree-granting culinary program at a university or college, or an apprentice in an ACF Education Foundation apprenticeship program; an ACF member; and at least 18 years old. Entrants had to submit a signed letter of endorsement from their department chair and/or school/apprenticeship director, as well as a 500 word essay describing why they aspire to be a culinary leader and how shadowing Ty during the 2010 ACF National Convention would help them reach their goal.

“I was extremely pleased with the quality of candidates, especially those selected as semifinalists for the interview phase of the contest,” said Ty. “Choosing a winner was one of the toughest decisions to make, because all the interview candidates were great. During the interview process, the candidates expressed to me their excitement, spirit and passion for all things culinary and one day being a leader in the industry. I only wished I could have them all shadow me at convention. I look forward to offering this program again next year, because the information I gained during the interviews was precious.”

LeBlanc is a culinary-arts student in the hospitality administration program at the North Meridian Campus of Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana where she is pursuing an associate of applied science degree in culinary arts, as well as an associate of applied science degree in baking and pastry arts. She has been an active member of the ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter since August 2009 and serves on the chapter’s student board. LeBlanc aspires to one day teach and inspire the next generation of student culinarians.

“I have learned that nothing can compare to the knowledge that can be gained from interacting with talented chefs. Sometimes the change in technique is subtle, or it could be a completely new way of doing things. Big or small, these changes are what set these chefs apart and I would like to learn as much as possible from them,” states LeBlanc in her Be Like “Mike” essay.

The following applicants were semifinalists in the contest: Andrew Addleman of Winter Park, Fla., a student at Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts, Melbourne, Fla., and a member of the ACF Space Coast Chapter; Yvette Marie Luancing of Overland Park, Kan., a student at Johnson Community College, Overland Park, and a member of ACF Greater Kansas City Chefs Association; Stephanie McElhaney of Edmond, Okla., a student at The Culinary Institute of Platt College, Oklahoma City, and a member of the ACF Culinary Arts Society of Oklahoma; Nia Pullinzi of East Amherst, N.Y., a student at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., and a member of ACF Greater Buffalo of New York; and Harold “Adam” Weber of Elkhart, Ind., a student at Ivy Tech Community College-North Central, South Bend, Ind., and a member of ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association.

The convention, hosted by ACF Orange Empire Chefs & Professional Cooks Association, brings foodservice professionals and chefs from across the country together to compete for national awards, network, attend culinary demonstrations and educational seminars, discuss the latest culinary trends and techniques, and view the newest culinary products at its annual two-day trade show.

Sponsors of the 2010 ACF National Convention are: Allen Brothers; American Technical Publishers; Barilla America, Inc.; Barry Callebaut; Beef Information Center; BelGioioso Cheese Inc.; Buckhead Beef; Butterball Farms, Inc.; California Olive Ranch; Canada Cutlery Inc.; Canola Council of Canada; The Cheesecake Factory Bakery Inc.; Christopher Ranch; Cleveland Range, LLC; Contessa Premium Foods; Custom Culinary, Inc.; Diamond Crystal Salt; Dietz & Watson, Inc.; Ecolab; Eneron, Inc.; Fisher-Nickel Inc.; Five Star Gourmet Foods, Inc.; French’s Foodservice; GFF, Inc./Girard’s Dressings; Guittard Chocolate Co.; Hudson Valley Foie Gras; The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes; J.R. Simplot Company; Johnson & Wales University; King & Prince Seafood; Koch Foods, Inc.; Lactalis; Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America; MARS Food Services; McCormick For Chefs; MenuMax; Michael Foods, Inc.; MINOR’S; Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; Plugra; PreGel AMERICA; Rastelli; Riviana Foods Inc.; R.L. Schreiber, Inc.; Saputo Cheese; The Schwan Food Company; Smeraldina; Splenda; The Sterno Group; Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods, Inc.; Tyson Food Service; Unilever Foodsolutions; Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc; Villeroy & Boch; VitaMix Corp.; Washington State Potato Commission; and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Posted 6/25/10.