Culinary Competition Submission

It’s time to get your winning team together!

AHF’s Culinary Competition is a career-changing opportunity for our competing member teams. Five teams of three are selected from self-operated facilities around the country. Each year our five teams compete for Gold, Silver, and Bronze spots across a 75-minute timed competition with set ingredient options selected from AHF’s curated Market Basket. Competitors are selected through a rigorous, blinded, selection process. In 2019 AHF had its highest-ever submission rate and competition to gain a coveted spot was fierce. In 2020 AHF ran a virtual showcase in light of the pandemic. We are excited to get back to our regularly scheduled in-person Culinary Competition. Be sure to attend AHF 2021 and watch the finalist teams go for Gold. 

For teams looking to submit themselves for selection, please read all our rules, regulations, and tips below carefully. Please be sure to request any additional equipment in the application.

    • You must have all the required documents in order to submit your application online.
    • When submitted successfully, you will receive a confirmation email with your completed form contents and a link to edit.
    • You may use the link to edit your submission before the deadline on May 15th.

Deadline to apply: May 15, 2021

If you have any questions, please email AHF Staff at culinary@healthcarefoodservice.org.

Culinary Competition Past Finalists

Need inspiration? Click below to see a gallery of final plated dishes of past competition finalists.

Informational Webinar 

AHF presented a webinar on tips and tricks to get your team selected for this year’s competition. You may watch the recording for an overview of the 2021 Program Rules and new additions to this year’s competition.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are you limited to how many items you can use in Basket B?

No, there is not a maximum, but you are required to use 3 items in Basket B; you can use more if you wish to. Be intentional about it.

Can the competitors heat water prior to the start of the competition?

Yes, we allowed this in previous years and will allow it again. 

Can the competitors bring their own stock?

2021 Update: No, all ingredients must be provided by AHF/Omni.

Traditionally, Yes. If you wish to bring your own stock, you must find a way to ship it to the hotel and store it safely. The stock must be included in your original recipe and meet the nutritional guidelines.

Can you apply to compete with another member in a sister facility?

No, both team members must be from the same facility. Two teams from the same system may apply separately.

Can one team submit more than one recipe?

Yes, this has been done in previous years.

How many portions are you expected to prepare?

6 portions

When will the applicants find out if their team has been selected?

Typically this has been announced by early June.  

Can you use sous vide?

Yes, sous vide is allowed. If you would like to bring additional equipment than what is provided on the Equipment List, please submit for approval on the online application.

Can you do Sous vide finishing or ahead?

No, you cannot do sous vide ahead. You will have to start the sous vide at the beginning of the 75 mins.

How many teams compete?

There are 5 teams of 3. In 2021, we have added a third team member as an alternate due to the increased safety precautions, in the event one of the two team members cannot compete.

Will there be storage and refrigeration space available?

Yes, both dry storage and refrigeration will be available the day prior to the competition. More instructions will be given to selected finalists.

How much time will we have before the start of the competition?

1 hour to wash vegetables, arrange the space, boil water. No cutting vegetables will be allowed.

Are we supposed to go shopping for the ingredients before the competition?

Market basket ingredients will be provided for you. Any additional ingredients must be picked up before the event.  Local grocery stores in Orlando will be provided. If you are shipping any products, shipping instructions will be given to you.

Do we need to bring our own wash and sanitation station?

To be determined, varies by conference location. Your runner will have access to it during the competition.

Will there be station storage available?

Each team will be given a speed rack, with sheet trays that can be used to organize your materials.

Can the mystery ingredient be free of common allergens?

Yes, the committee will keep that in consideration when selecting.

Are eggs counted as an additional protein?

No, not if it is not center of the plate

Is there a list of food vendors that service the hotel?

Please contact culinary@healthcarefoodservice.org, so we can provide you with what will be made available.

Do we bring our own plates or are they provided?

AHF will provide each team with the 11″ white plates.

Is the selection committee using a specific software to determine nutrition requirements that we can use to be sure they match?

We recommend using whatever your hospital uses or a commercial version. Please do not use an open source one from the Internet.

When is the cost of the market basket provided?

Applicants should use their own costs for the market basket ingredients.

What cooking methods is AHF looking for?

Teams are required to showcase a minimum of two cooking methods to include any 2 of the following techniques: For moist; boil, simmer, steam, braise, stew and poach. For dry heat cooking methods; grill, sauté, roast, bake and fry