ROANOKE – Virginia Western Community College culinary arts instructor Ted Polfelt, CEC, CCA, was named the 2016 American Culinary Federation (ACF) Southeast Region Chef of the Year on Saturday in Atlanta. Polfelt, faced off against three other chefs and came away the winner at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts during the ACF Southeast Regional Culinary Salon.

Polfelt, who teaches in the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program, will represent the ACF Southeast region in the national competition at the Cook, Craft, Create Convention & Show in Phoenix from July 15-19. The national winner will receive the title of 2016 USA Chef of the Year along with a $5,000 top prize.

“Winning the title of Southeast Chef of the year is truly an honor,” said Polfelt. “Any competition to me is always more about the drive of personal education and the goal of being a better cook today than I was yesterday.”

During the Southeast Region competition, Polfelt had 1 hour, 40 minutes to create a main course utilizing pheasant for the four judges. Scoring was based on taste, organization, culinary skills and techniques. Polfelt served stuffed pheasant breast over farro with kale, Bold Rock cider braised thigh, with glazed butternut squash, cider jus and an olive oil crisp.

The ACF Chef of the Year award, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions and established in 1963, 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.

In addition to teaching at Virginia Western, Polfelt is executive chef for the Jefferson Street Management Group in Roanoke. In this position, he oversees menu development and production at Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse, 419 West and Corned Beef and Co. His experience includes sous chef, Blue Magnolias, Roanoke; and cook, Compass Group North America, Charlotte, North Carolina. He has an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, and has received gold medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions. Polfelt was awarded an ACF Southeast Region President’s Medallion in 2015 and was the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl team coach for ACF Southwestern Virginia Chapter. He has served as ACF Southwestern Virginia Chapter president since 2013 and was named the chapter’s Chef of the Year in 2013 and 2015.

The Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program is one of just nine postsecondary culinary programs accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) in Virginia. The program boasts more than 110 students who can seek an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts, a Career Studies Certificate in Culinary Arts and a Career Studies Certificate in Baking and Pastries. The Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program chefs also regularly teach non-credit cooking classes. For more information, visit www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/btt/programs/culinary.php.