NACUFS Announces UMass Amherst Chef Jeffrey MacDonald as Northeast Winner in Culinary Challenge
The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) has announced Jeffrey MacDonald, chef at UMass Amherst, as the Northeast regional winner for the NACUFS 2023 Culinary Challenge. The competition was held Wednesday evening at the Hotel UMass as part of NACUFS 2023 Spring Conference at UMass Amherst.
MacDonald, chef of catering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, won first place for his Stuffed Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Braised Smoked Pork Belly. MacDonald said it was his first time competing in the Culinary Challenge.
“It took a lot of practicing, just refining everything down to what I need for the competition,” MacDonald said. “I’m very proud to represent the University of Massachusetts. A lot of the other chefs there have won it as well, so I feel honored to be in the same group as them. Looking ahead to National, I’ll keep practicing, keep refining the dish and try to take it to the next level.”
Athan Spanos, chef at Pennsylvania State University was also announced, as the Mid-Atlantic regional winner and Chefs Spanos and MacDonald will advance to the national level competition at the NACUFS 2023 National Conference, taking place July 19-22 in Baltimore, Maryland, along with winners of four other regions.
The annual NACUFS Culinary Challenge, created in 2001 and sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), recognizes the vast collection of culinary expertise in collegiate foodservice. Each year, a protein is selected that competitors must use to create an original recipe to form a nutritionally balanced plate. Individual competitors’ creations are judged based on a 100-point scale to rate organization, cooking skills, culinary technique and taste.
The NACUFS 2023 Culinary Challenge is sponsored by US Foods, Cintas and Hormel Foods.
All other participants in the Culinary Challenge also received medals from ACF for their culinary expertise, including Adam June of Cornell University, David Andrew Johnson of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Todd Sweet of the University of New Hampshire, Brian DiMuccio of the University of Rhode Island, Thomas Scott Surratt Jr of Virginia Tech, Chris White of the University of Richmond, Eliza Bowden of the University of Maryland, Pedro Duarte of Johns Hopkins University, and Michael Eng of Rutgers University.