ABOUT YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER USA

Promoting Hospitality as a career of choice, a profession and a vocation, Young Chef Young Waiter USA is a national competition open to all young professional Waiters and Chefs from any background working in the USA Hospitality sector.

The Young Chef Young Waiter USA competition will be open to chefs and waiters who and are under 28 years old from any background working in the hospitality industry.

The Young Chef Young Waiter competition was established in 1979, in the UK in partnership with UKHospitality and the Restaurant Association to promote hospitality as a career of choice, a profession, and a vocation. Today, with is new revitalised format Young Chef Young Waiter continue to honour the next culinary and service stars globally.

In 2023, the Young Chef Young Waiter USA competition took place at the CIA at Copia in Napa for a one-day final on the Monday 21st August.

World Young Chef Young Waiter USA was relaunched for 2023 to extend the competition around the globe. The Chef and Waiter winning duo from each country joined for the World Final that was held in Monaco on the 23rd-24th November. The World Champions won a grand cash prize of $10,000.

2024 COMPETITION

The winning Chef & Waiter duo from each country will join for a World Final competition that will take place in November in Singapore.

World Young Chef Young Waiter USA Competition 2024:

  • Entries are now open online for YCYW USA on our online awards platform https://youngchefyoungwaiter.awardsplatform.com/
  • Entries close Midnight 5th July 2024.
  • Entry is free for Young Chefs and Young Waiters who are 28 years old or under and working in the hospitality industry in the USA.
  • The YCYW USA competition will take place on Monday 5th August 2024.
  • The winners will be announced after taking place in a one-day live competition at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia.
  • The 2024 WorldYY finals will take place mid-November in Singapore.

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MEET THE 2023 USA WINNERS

WHY ENTER WORLD YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER

The aim of World Young Chef Young Waiter is simple: to uncover the very best young talent in our industry and help equip them with relevant skills, current knowledge and the network needed to succeed in the world of hospitality. Devised by respected professionals, the competition has a fresh modern approach that focuses on tasks and criteria that are challenging, educational and fun.

World Young Chef Young Waiter showcases all aspects of hospitality. Inspiring, empowering and inclusive, most of all we celebrate the capabilities and diversity of our amazing industry.

Many past winners have gone on to achieve huge success in hospitality and YCYW proudly supports the future stars in United States kitchens and restaurants. Winners and judges have included some the industry’s great recognisable names to include – Mark Sargeant, Marcus Wareing, Simon King, John Torode, Annie and Germain Schwab, Jeremy King, Raymond Blanc OBE, Heston Blumenthal OBE, The Earl of Bradford, Lord Forte, Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Girling and Fred Sirieix.

YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER USA CALIFORNIA JUDGES

A panel of high-profile service industry veterans, including renowned restaurateur Thomas Keller; award-winning chef Adam Sobel; and Michael Brennan, president of restaurants, will help narrow down the entries to a shortlist of 8 finalists - 4 chefs and 4 waiters - who will battle it out in the one-day live finale and awards party at the CIA at Copia in Napa. The two winners of YCYW USA will take part in the World Young Chef Young Waiter Final November 2024.

Judges - USA

Chef Judges

JUDGES - USA CALIFORNIA

Adam Sobel

Partner of MINA Group and New Italian CO

Adam Sobel is the award-winning chef and partner of MINA Group and New Italian CO. Sobel earned acclaim and success after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. read more Chef Sobel has trained under some of the greatest Chefs in the world including Gunter Seeger, Charlie Trotter, Daniel Boulud and Guy Savoy. Adam moved to Las Vegas in 2003 to help create the James Beard Award winning restaurant Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace, before moving on to become the chef de cuisine at Guy Savoy. In 2011, Sobel moved to Washington, DC to serve as executive chef at Chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, kickstarting a lifelong partnership with Chef Mina. At MINA Group, Sobel oversees culinary direction for the group’s 40+ restaurants across the US and Dubai, including the Michelin-starred flagship in San Francisco, MICHAEL MINA. Among many awards and television appearances, Sobel was crowned the “King of Porc” at the prestigious Grand Cochon at Aspen Food and Wine. Chef Sobel is an activist for sustainable farming, fishing and pasturing raising animals responsibly.

Roland Passot

Propriétaire and Chief Culinary Officer

Growing up in the culinary heart of France, it is no surprise that Roland Passot made his way into some of the best kitchens in the world. read more After working as a young man in such French gastronomic institutions, such as Léon de Lyon, Roland made his way to Dallas to The French Room at the legendary Adolphus hotel in Dallas, where he was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Rising Star Chef in 1980.

In 1988 Roland moved to open his own cozy restaurant, La Folie, in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. La Folie was an instant success, earning the coveted Michelin star, 4-stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, and a place in the Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants in 2015.

The Maîtres Cuisiniers de France inducted him in 1991 and awarded him their Lifetime Achievement award in 2015.

Tracey Shepos Cenami

Executive Chef and Cheese Specialist at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens

Tracey Shepos Cenami grew up in an Italian family that was always cooking. Her nana and mother put considerable thought into everyday meals, treating each as a special occasion. read more This foundation inspired her to attend the Culinary Institute of America in San Francisco as well as become a cheese specialist and award-winning cookbook author. After graduation, she worked at Union Square Café in New York City, then went on to cook in some of San Francisco’s best-known and loved restaurants. When she moved to wine country, she was Executive Chef for Stark Reality restaurants, an award-winning Sonoma County restaurant group. She joined Kendall-Jackson in 2012 and is currently the Executive Chef of Jackson Family Wines.

When she’s not at K-J she regularly competes on the Food Network against some of the country’s top chefs, including Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Christa Lutdke. Outside of work, Tracey enjoys running, spending time with her husband and son, and trying new things (like dancing in a hip-hop performance). Tracey is committed to supporting her community through volunteer work and is a founding board member of the Sonoma County chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization dedicated to inspiring, advancing, and supporting women in food, beverage, and hospitality.

Adam Busby, CMC CHE

General Manager - The Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena, CA

Chef Busby brings an international background in culinary arts and education to the CIA. After completing his culinary studies in Canada, Adam migrated to France where he worked for several years in top-rated Michelin starred restaurants in Dijon and Paris. read more He then moved to Johannesburg SA, where he oversaw the kitchens of a five diamond hotel for three more years before returning to Canada, this time in Vancouver, BC. After several years as chef of of the highly acclaimed Bishop’s restaurant in Vancouver, Adam opened his own fine dining restaurants as chef and proprietor of Star Anise and Cascabel; both garnering public favorite and critic’s choice awards for Vancouver’s best food and service for several years. Following on the heels of his restaurant ownership experience, Adam was hired to direct the culinary programs at the Dubrulle International Culinary and Hotel Institute of Canada, where he oversaw culinary operations, faculty, and development. Adam joined The Culinary Institute of America at their California campus in July of 2000 as a faculty member, and eventually as the Director of Education where he was tasked with oversight of degree and certificate programs in culinary, baking & pastry, professional wine studies, consulting and continuing education programs. In 2011 Adam joined Avenir, a startup sous-vide and precision-temperature cooking company in the SF Bay area as VP of culinary research where he focused on developing proprietary sous-vide culinary solutions for hotel foodservice. In 2014 Adam rejoined the CIA as Director of Special Projects where he designed and developed teaching kitchens in America and Europe. Currently, Busby is the General Manager of Greystone, responsible for operational oversight and management of Greystone, the Culinary Institute of America’s degree-program campus in the heart of the Napa Valley. Chef Busby is a Certified Master Chef with the American Culinary Federation and American Master Chefs Order. https://www.americanmasterchefsorder.org/the-master-chefs/

WAITER JUDGES

JUDGES - USA CALIFORNIA

Tony Marcell

Partner & Operations Manager of LUNA and Wayfare Tavern

Tony Marcell is a renowned San Francisco restaurant veteran with over two decades of experience in the hospitality industry. He is widely recognized for the role he played in opening Wayfare Tavern and has been credited for much of the restaurant’s initial and ongoing success. read more A Washington native, Marcell grew up in the restaurant industry. His earliest memories include assisting his father in selling high-end meats to chefs in the Seattle area. He found beauty in the aroma and ingredients these chefs worked with and enjoyed the high energy intensity of the culinary teams he met. He recognized the creativity involved in curating a beautiful, delicious meal and eventually found pleasure and “an exhilarating and rewarding feeling” from learning to create them himself.

Throughout Marcell’s childhood, his mother and father worked in restaurants. His mother was a talented chef who took her skill home and taught Marcell professional cooking techniques in the home kitchen. Experiencing superior family meals and fabulous dinner parties, coupled with those early outings in various kitchens with his father, sparked Marcell’s passion for the industry.

In high school, Marcell began his own career in the restaurant business working at Triples, a downtown Seattle hotspot owned by Restaurants Unlimited, a food and beverage firm that operated 35 restaurants in six states. He stayed with the company through college, working his way through school by bartending and waiting tables.

After graduating from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing, Marcell continued his career with Restaurants Unlimited for another two years, moving to Hawaii and honing his skills in the kitchen as a sous chef. In 1995, he relocated to San Francisco and took his first job with The Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group on their front-of-house team learning operational and managerial skills and engaging with restaurant guests.

After five years with Kimpton, Marcell accepted a position as floor manager at famed restaurateur and Michelin-starred chef Laurent Manrique’s groundbreaking restaurant, Aqua. Under the mentorship of Jean Claude Persais at Aqua, Marcell learned the “art of fine dining” and worked as general manager of the establishment within two years where he achieved a Michelin Two Star rating in 2006.

In 2007, Marcell began consulting for San Francisco design firm, Puccini Group where he opened newly designed restaurants within hotels throughout the city of San Francisco and across the US. Three years later, in 2010, he opened Wayfare Tavern with celebrity chef Tyler Florence, which is now on it’s 13th year.

Marcell opened LUNA, in the Mission in 2021 to create a modern and timeless gathering place for good “Kitchen and Cocktails” with a casual and comfortable setting that is welcoming to a diverse clientele for all occasions

In his free time, Marcell enjoys spending time with his 9 yr old daughter, Que. Swimming and playing Golf.

Roger Huldi

General Manager at The St. Regis San Francisco

Roger Huldi, a highly accomplished hospitality operations leader known for developing progressive programming and initiatives, Roger is a seasoned industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience working with Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. read more In 1991, Roger began his career in the Food and Beverage Department at the Sheraton Mirage Resort in Port Douglas, Australia. Since that time, Roger has excelled and demonstrated his expertise with increasing responsibility as Director of Food and Beverage at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Lahaina and the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, Director of Outlets at the Westin Maui Kaanapali and as Food and Beverage Manager at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

During his tenure as General Manager of W San Francisco, in 20 l 5, Roger led the property to LEED Platinum Certification and introduced dynamic and now globally adapted practices. In recognition of his leadership, the American Hotel and Lodging Association named W San Francisco the 20 l 6 Hotel of the Year. W San Francisco was also one of the first hotels in the city to install rooftop beehives. Roger believes that green hospitality is about achieving the highest sustainable standards without sacrificing the guest experience.

Roger is an active board member of the San Francisco Travel Association, the California Hotel and Lodging Association's Hospitality Foundation, and the Hotel Council of San Francisco. In 2022, Roger assumed the position of General Manager at The St. Regis San Francisco. Under his leadership, the hotel has attained the highest Guest Satisfaction scores globally within the Marriott luxury brand portfolio. This year, The St. Regis San Francisco achieved the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating; the only Forbes Five-Star hotel in San Francisco. Less than four hundred hotels globally have earned this designation.

A thoughtful and innovative thinker, Roger fully immerses himself in the planning for all initiatives at The St. Regis San Francisco. To say that Roger is an asset to The St. Regis San Francisco would be an understatement. He is the consummate embodiment of hospitality and innovation, and the true definition of what a leader is.

Steven Lande

Steven Lande comes from Chicago, where meals were the time to share love, quarrels, and commiseration around the dinner table with family and friends. In other words, those experiences made him a natural for food and wine. read more He began his career at Charlie Trotter’s famed Relais & Chateau restaurant in Chicago, and for six years Steven grew under Trotter’s mentorship. Next, he managed The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton, Chicago for five years (operated by Four Seasons Hotels at the time). Where he worked alongside James Beard winner, Chef Sarah Stegner and was responsible for their Grand Award-winning wine list, as well as, serving on the North American wine buying committee for Four Seasons.

Steven headed west for San Francisco, where he was the manager/maître’ d for more than 16 years at Restaurant Gary Danko. Steven considers this his most rewarding experience as it enabled him to become part of the San Francisco community.

During the pandemic, Steven transitioned to Lasseter Family Vineyards in Sonoma to hone new skills in wine production. It was during this time that he took the next step of working for himself and launched Lande Hospitality; where he advises local restaurateurs, guides wine collectors curating their cellars and consults on high-end event planning.

Steven and his wife, Jennifer, have been living in their adopted Bay Area home for more than 20 years.

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