BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, announces that Sebastien Layen, executive chef at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas, was named winner of the 2019 IACC Global Copper Skillet Competition, held recently in Toronto. IACC (formerly the International Association of Conference Centres) introduced the culinary competition in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world, and to honor chefs’ contributions to providing an outstanding meeting experience. Chef Layen was the winner of regional competitions in IACC’s Americas Chapter competition prior to advancing to the finals.
This year’s competition was held at the IACC Americas Connect Conference, which took place in Toronto. Finalists from IACC’S Americas, European and Australian Chapters competed for the title of Global Copper Skillet Champion.
The competing chefs were presented with basic pantry items along with a “mystery basket” of proteins and other fresh grocery items. They were given 15 minutes to gather ingredients and 30 minutes to prepare them. Chef Layen won the day with a crusted beef medallion, fig and maple syrup gastrique and a roasted fig, artichoke and root vegetables barigoule.
“We are tremendously proud of Chef Layen’s achievement, that reflects the commitment of our conference center chefs to reaching new heights of innovation and quality,” says Benchmark CEO Alex Cabañas, who also serves as IACC’s Board of Directors President. “Benchmark has long recognized the importance of creative food and beverage offerings to the meeting experience and is a pioneer in developing authentic, creative and delicious food at our hotels and conference centers.” He notes that Benchmark has introduced a range of ground-breaking culinary initiatives to the meetings industry, including a partnership with the pioneering celebrity Chef Stephan Pyles to create new restaurant concepts, menu development, and training that impact every aspect of the food and beverage product.
About Executive Chef Sebastien Layen
Executive Chef Sebastien Layen brings a distinguished and varied culinary background to his position at Deloitte University where he oversees all aspects of food preparation for the property. Specializing in the classic cuisine of his native France, he has served in executive positions at several prominent hotels including Hyatt, Omni and Le Meridien. Trained in Europe, he holds advanced degrees in hotel management from L’Ecole Hoteliere de la Citadel de Namur in Belgium.
Chef Layen’s global travels have influenced his culinary style, with experience in kitchens in Belgium, Tahiti and major American cities including, Miami, New Orleans and San Diego.