USF Dining/ARAMARK Chef Mark Smith will compete in ACE Finals

Tampa, FL, April 19, 2012 — University of South Florida Dining Services/ARAMARK is proud to announce that Chef Mark Smith, Champion’s Choice Production Manager, will be competing in the Southern Regional ACE (ARAMARK Culinary Excellence) Finals on April 27, 2012. The ACE Program recognizes and rewards outstanding chefs throughout ARAMARK-managed higher education accounts and provides the opportunity for the chefs to share their culinary expertise with a broader audience in an environment that is both competitive and stimulating.

Each of the participating chefs has been selected because he or she placed in the top three in a regional competition, and consistently strives for culinary excellence. Each regional competition (nine regions) featured eight chefs who presented a three course meal to six judges. The chefs prepared one show-plate each for the students and judges, and a taster-plate for each judge. Each chef had four hours to prepare their meals from prep to finish.

Chef Smith won the Bronze Medal at the University of Tennessee in the preliminary round of ACE in March 2012. His featured dishes were Catalina Chicken and White Bread Pudding. Chef Smith is a graduate of the George Brown Culinary Institute in Toronto, Canada. He is the Food Production Manager at Champion’s Choice at USF. Prior to coming to USF Dining/ARAMARK, Chef Smith worked as the Corporate Executive Chef for the Ceviche Restaurant Group.

More than 150 chefs from colleges and universities all over the country will compete in ACE across North America this year. The 2012 ACE Challenge is an opportunity for the organization to recognize the talents and creativity of its culinary staff from across the United States and Canada. The competition also provides ARAMARK chefs with the opportunity to showcase their culinary expertise with a broader audience in a competitive environment.

The top three finalists from each of the nine regions will then compete in June to win the prestigious “Copper Pot” and a medal from the American Culinary Federation, the largest professional chefs association in the United States.