love For the Kitchen
2010 Student chef of the Year daniel
gorman’s passion for cooking fuels his
desire to compete.
“Simple, yet complex,” is how Daniel
Gorman, the 23-year-old line cook from
Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta,
describes his winning menu. He was
named 2010 Student Chef of the Year by
the American Culinary Federation (ACF)
following a national cook-off against three
others in Anaheim, Calif., in August. Along
with the national title, Gorman received
$1,000. The Student Chef of the Year award
is sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.
“My menu had a Southern drawl to it, and
so do I,” says Gorman, a Charleston, S.C.,
native. “It was a perfect display of what I
can do, who I am and where I am from.”
Gorman moved to Atlanta after graduating
from Asheville-Buncombe Technical
Community College, Asheville, N.C., in
2007. Cherokee’s executive chef J. Kevin
Walker, CMC, AAC, asked him to join the
club after seeing him in action on the
school’s student team, which captured the
2007 Student Team National Championship.
From BuSineSS to artiSt
Before his days at Asheville-Buncombe,
Gorman attended The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he pursued a
degree in business.
“I just couldn’t stomach the thought of
being in a suit and sitting behind a desk or
crunching numbers all day,” he says. “Since
I always loved to cook, and eat, even more, I
decided to go to culinary school.”
After making the switch to culinary arts, he
says, everything fell into place — although
he did keep music, singing and playing
guitar in particular, as a backup plan.
His drive has opened many doors. In 2009,
he was apprentice for ACF Pastry Chef of
the Year Heather Hurlbert in Orlando, Fla.
Just a few months later, he was apprentice
for Russell Scott, CMC, WGMC, at the World
Association of Chefs Societies Global Chefs
Challenge semifinals for the Americas in São
Enjoying the planning, long hours and
hard work that goes into competition is
a good thing. Gorman had two months to
prepare for the national competition, and
he practiced two to three times a week,
spending about 80 hours a week at the club.
“I love everything about competing,”
Gorman says. “I love working with all of the
other chefs, growing, learning and having
an excuse to put one or two dishes under
a microscope for three months. There isn’t
anything about it I don’t enjoy.”
Aug. 4 was competition day, and by 9 a.m.,
the clock was ticking. Gorman, who admits
to being a bit of a perfectionist, says
organization was a big factor in helping him
keep his cool. The competitors had two
hours, 10 minutes, to prepare, cook and
serve two portions of a two-course meal.
A momentary panic struck when Gorman
missed his entreé’s service window.
“I was scared pretty bad for a few minutes,”
he says. “But the food, well, I had no
complaints. Maybe my spring roll could
have been a little crispier, but overall, I was
extremely happy with the food. Guess the
judges were, too.”
Judge Joseph Leonardi, CEC, admired
Gorman’s focus and attention to details.
“When he was building one of the pieces for
his entrée, he forgot a step,” Leonardi says.
“He stopped, rethought everything and
fixed the problem. He could have gone on
and the dish would have come out okay, but
he took time to fix the problem.”
outSide the Kitchen
When Gorman isn’t working, or practicing,
he loves being outdoors, mountain biking,
snowboarding, long boarding or hiking.
Family, friends and his girlfriend Becca are
also a big part of Gorman’s life, keeping
him positive on the long days and the bad
ones, he says.
With so much experience and a long
list of accolades for being out of college
just three years, Gorman has a piece of
competition advice for those following
close behind him in life.
“Compete if you want to, but only if your
heart is 100 percent in it,” he says. “Don’t
be afraid. It’s just like any other sport —
you practice, you have good days and bad
days, but win or lose, if you put your heart
into it, you will always come out on top.”
Here’s a look at Daniel Gorman’s Southern-
Appetizer: Pan-roasted trout,
sweet corn and shrimp ravioli,
shellfish consommé, steamed
clams and a pickled fennel and
Entrée: Bacon-wrapped roasted
chicken roulade stuffed with oyster
mushroom mousseline, carrot purée,
chicken-fat fried potatoes, sautéed
green beans, chicken cracklings, a
braised chicken spring roll and roast chicken jus.