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Buckhead Chef Named 'Best Young Cook in the World'

Cherokee Town and Country Chef Daniel Gorman took home the title after a competition in South Korea.

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) recently announced that Daniel Gorman of Atlanta, chef de cuisine of the Terrace Level at Buckhead's Cherokee Town and Country Club, has won an international World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS)-sanctioned competition, the Hans Bueschkens Junior Chefs Challenge. The competition took place May 3 in Daejeon, South Korea, during the 35th annual WACS World Congress. Gorman received a trophy and approximately $3,000 and is now considered the “best young cook in the world.”

“Competing on an international level is a completely different ballgame,” said Gorman. “The pressure is greater, the stakes are higher and you don’t have the slightest idea of who you are up against. I kept reminding myself to compete against myself. At the end of it all, coming home with the global title felt amazing and gave me more confidence in everything I do. It was also a great feeling knowing that I had done the best I could.”

Gorman is the second Buckhead chef within the month to be given a top honor. Last week, won a for "Best Chef in the Southeast."

Gorman won the right to compete on the world stage after winning the semifinals for the Americas in June 2011 during the Canadian Culinary Federation’s national conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. He earned the right to represent the U.S. at the semifinals after winning the title of 2010 ACF StudentChef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.

In South Korea, seven young cooks, all under 25, from Australia, China, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. competed. They were given 60 days to plan their menus, which were required to feature sterling halibut, AOC Kobe strip loin and Korean strawberries. A panel of judges evaluated contestants’ performance and menus to determine the winner. Sweden placed second and Italy placed third.

“It was exciting to watch Daniel compete,” said Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president “Just like when he competed in Vancouver, Daniel showed confidence and precision in preparing his meal. In addition to winning, he was recognized for having the best-prepared and best-tasting halibut dish. ACF is proud of his performance.” 

Winning menu

Gorman says his menu showed his continued development and growth from his six years of culinary competition. “My menu was simple, with highly focused technique and flavor,” he said. He prepared:

Halibut dish: Buttermilk-braised halibut with a spring asparagus and pea salad, lemon yuzu vinaigrette, mustard gastrique, leek fondue and a smoked prosciutto crisp

Kobe dish: Sous vide Kobe strip loin with carrot purée, sauteed fava beans, wild mushroom timbale, beef stew croquette, red onion jam and veal jus

Strawberry dish: Strawberry mousse cheesecake on a lime biscuit with strawberry compote and an upside-down strawberry float

“I used all of the ideas I have gathered through competing and put my menu together with a strict focus on seasonality and American food,” Gorman said. “For example, the carrot purée I used was from the ACF Student Chef of the Year competition; the mushroom timbale was based on an idea I got from Chef[Russell] Scott [CMC, WGMC] in Brazil and the halibut was based on my entree in Canada.”

Gorman is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2007 graduate of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, N.C. He has extensive competition experience. He served as a member of his school’s junior hot-food team, was Heather Hurlbert’s apprentice in the 2009 ACF Pastry Chef of the Year competition in Orlando, Fla., was apprentice for Russell Scott at the WACS Global Chefs Challenge semifinals for the Americas in São Paulo, Brazil, in September 2009, and was named 2010 ACF Student Chef of the Year. Gorman is a member of ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter Inc.

The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning more than 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation.  

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