Todd Leonard, CEC, of Jordan, Utah, received the American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF) Western Region Chef of the Year award at the 2011 ACF Western Regional Conference held at Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, Ariz., April 29-May 2, 2011. Leonard, executive chef at Blue Lemon in American Fork, Utah, and an instructor at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, accepted the award during the regional awards gala May 2.
“It was truly an honor to compete with great chefs in the Western Region Chef of the Year competition,” said Leonard. “This award means a great deal to me. This is one of the greatest elements of my career. I am honored to compete at nationals and represent our great region. I already feel the responsibility and will work hard to represent our region to the best of my ability.”
Sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions, the ACF Western Region Chef of the Year award recognizes an outstanding culinarian who works and cooks in a full-service dining facility. This person demonstrates the highest standard of culinary skills, advances the cuisine of America and gives back to the profession through the development of students and apprentices. Leonard competed against four other candidates, preparing Prosciutto Wrapped Duck Roulade with port and morel mushroom jus, chèvre and herb polenta gratin, tomato-stuffed mushroom and seared foie gras, and sweet pea and vegetable medley, before being declared the winner. As this year’s Western Region recipient, he will compete for the national title against the winners from the three other ACF regions at the 2011 ACF National Convention in Dallas in July.
Leonard has worked at Blue Lemon since 2009, and at Utah Valley University since 2007. At Blue Lemon, he created the menu concept, trains and hires staff, serves as a regular instructor in the demo kitchen for cooking classes and opened a second location in 2010. Before joining the staff at Blue Lemon, he worked at The Garden Restaurant and Nauvoo Café in Salt Lake City, Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, Utah, and Provo Park Hotel, Provo, Utah, among others. Leonard has an associate degree in culinary arts from Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City. He is an active member of his church, spending nearly 20 hours each week on service projects. He also serves as ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.’s competition chairperson. He has received numerous chapter distinctions, including its Chef of the Year Award in 2006 and 2010 and Chef Professionalism Award in 2009.
The 2011 ACF Western Regional Conference, hosted by ACF Chefs Association of Arizona, Inc., brought hundreds of chefs, cooks and foodservice professionals to Scottsdale. The conference provided attendees with opportunities to advance their professional development and enhance their culinary skills through business seminars, cooking demonstrations featuring the latest trends and techniques, cooking competitions and awards.