Imagine you are planning a dinner for four, but you do not know what to prepare. Now imagine you are trying to create that meal for four, but you are representing the U.S., during an international competition that an American has never won before, in a country you have never visited and without knowing what your ingredients are until 30 minutes before you need to begin.
Culinary student Adam Smith did just that. He traveled to Frankfurt, Germany in September 2007 to compete in the international Jeunes Commis Rôtisseurs (Young Cooks) Competition sponsored by the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. First organized in 1977 in Switzerland to support and promote young, aspirant chefs, the competition gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills at regional, national and international levels in countries that have a strong Chaîne presence. Smith won regional and national competitions, earning him one of 20 top spots in Germany.
The contest was a “black box” competition, where the young chef did not know the ingredients he was to cook with until 30 minutes before the start time. Smith then had 30 minutes to write a menu and a mere 3 ½ hours to prepare a three-course dinner for four.
Smith’s parents could not make the trek, but Charlotte Campus President Arthur J. Gallagher flew to Germany to cheer on the rising culinary star. Although Smith did not place in the top three, it was the experience of a lifetime for the aspiring chef.