ATLANTA—InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has announced the Presidente InterContinental Mexico City hotel and Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez, a culinary student at Anahuac University, as the winners of the second annual Ultimate Culinary Clash, which took place on Wednesday, May 6 at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel. With the assistance of the hotel’s Chapulín restaurant Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Fuentes, Gómez received top honors while competing against three other culinary students who were paired with top chefs from InterContinental properties in the U.S. She won a $5,000 scholarship from the InterContinental brand.
Part cooking competition and part scholarship fundraiser, the Ultimate Culinary Clash brought together the winners of four regional Culinary Clash competitions to face-off against each other. Each student chef finalist presented a small plate of their winning entrée from the regional Culinary Clash to an esteemed group of judges, composed of a group of hotel executives, media, and renowned chefs, including Chef Todd English, restaurateur of the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel’s Ça Va Brasserie. Each dish in the competition was judged and scored on taste, creativity, and presentation. Winning student Gómez’s dish, “Tacos de Lechon,” was accented with cilantro, garlic, and an habanero guava foam.
Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, vice president of food and beverage, the Americas, IHG said, “With Michelin-starred chefs and celebrity restaurateurs to help develop our innovative culinary creations, the InterContinental brand’s world-class food and beverage program features signature bars and restaurants with exceptional menus that pair local flavors with global inspiration. It gives us great pride to introduce the next generation of culinary talent to our brand’s affinity for haute cuisine and support their progression as a student in a meaningful way.”
Over the course of three months, four InterContinental properties across the United States and Mexico held local competitions with culinary students. The first place winners from each hotel received the opportunity to move forward to the Ultimate Culinary Clash in San Francisco. This year’s student participants were Magdalis Galzara of Cuyahoga Community College, InterContinental Cleveland; Ana Paula Oviedo Gómez of Anahuac University in Mexico City, Presidente InterContinental Mexico City; Chloe Sackett of International Culinary Center in New York City; InterContinental New York Times Square; and Christopher Wan of International Culinary Center in Campbell, InterContinental San Francisco.
English said, “It’s very exciting to see the Ultimate Culinary Clash come together again for the second time. This winning student brought a lot of flavor with her traditional Mexican dish.”
The Ultimate Culinary Clash began four years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel’s Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from a local culinary school to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant’s Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was expanded for the second year in a row to include other InterContinental hotels from the U.S. and Mexico.