Culinary Excellence: Chef Sean Claims Second Place in National “ACE” Competition

We are excited to announce that our very own Chef, Sean McEvoy, came in second place in the 2024 National Aramark Culinary Excellence (ACE) Collegiate Hospitality and Harvest Table competition!   

In March, Chef Sean qualified for the national competition after winning the regional title at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, competing against 13 other chefs nationwide. This achievement secured his spot in the National Competition, where he joined seven regional winners in San Antonio, Texas, on June 27th to highlight his culinary skills at a national level. We are immensely proud of Chef Sean and his outstanding performance in the competition!  

The national competition’s competitors were tasked with creating four innovative menu items from a mystery basket. An appetizer, soup, salad and entree. Inside this basket included 2 primary proteins, 3 supplementary proteins, 4 vegetables, 2 fruits, 1 starch, and 4 miscellaneous items to spark innovation. The chefs only had 30 minutes to plan their menu based on what was in their baskets, submit them to the kitchen judge, before the 4 hours to cook were put on the clock. Chefs were judged on their serving methods, presentations, portion size and nutritional balance, creativity, menu and ingredient compatibility, flavor, taste, texture, and doneness as well as kitchen/floor evaluation.  

The ACE is not just a culinary competition, it’s a platform that upholds the highest standards of the American Culinary Federation (AFC). These standards and guidelines are not just about consistency, quality, and professionalism in the culinary field, they are about pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. The ACE competition is about showcasing culinary talent within the Aramark company and challenging chefs to think outside the box, jump outside their comfort zone, and create some truly exciting dishes. 

Chef Sean’s culinary journey is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. It all began when he found himself washing dishes as a favor to his brother, who was managing a bar in college. One day, when the grill cook didn’t show up, the Chef looked at Sean and handed him a spatula. The fast-paced Creole kitchen’s inspired creativity for creating flavorful new dishes quickly led him to his passion for made-from-scratch cooking and modernizing new dishes. This story of humble beginnings and relentless pursuit of excellence is truly inspiring.   

After finding his new-found passion, Chef Sean completed a 6,000-hour American Culinary Federation Chef Apprenticeship Program from Johnson Country Community College and became a Certified Culinarian. He then studied baking and pastry at The Art Institute of Vancouver.   

After completing his studies, Chef Sean embarked on a remarkable culinary journey. From shucking oysters at the Wellfleet Beachcomber, to pastry production for Dean & Deluca, and working at the Academy Awards alongside Wolfgang Puck for various movie premiers. Chef Sean also played a pivotal role in bringing celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s restaurant Gwen to the desert of Coachella, cooked for two former presidents, and participated in galas across Los Angeles and the Greater Boston Area. His recent achievements include winning the regional ACE competition and securing second place in the national ACE competition.