ACF/WSCA Culinary Salon Competition

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Dear Competitors,

On behalf of the Washington State Chefs Association and our host, the Art Institute of Seattle, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the 2018 Culinary Competition. Through the years, I have observed first hand the dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm that it takes to compete in an event of this type. The many hours of practice you have all been through to get you to this point is a testament to your passion for excellence and your desire to succeed.

The most important thing that you should take from this experience is the experience itself, not the result.

We are all proud of all of you and thank you for sharing your talents with us. Enjoy the day, and most importantly, have fun.

For further information, please contact:

Janet Waters C/O Lake Washington Institute of Technology
11605 132nd Avenue NE
Kirkland Wa 98034

Competition Registration:

To register for the Culinary Competition:

  1. Pay for your category below - Find the category that
    you will compete in and click "Pay Now". All K categories are sold out,  but please e-mail if you would like to be on a waitlist just in case we have an open spot.
  2. Download the competition registration form(fillable PDF) and complete the registration form.
  3. Email the registration form to
  4. Once registered, orientation information will be sent to you.

Professional Fee - $125
A1-A6, B1-B4, C1-C5,
D1-D4, KC

Student Fee - $75

Competitors should reference the following materials:

2018 Salon Competition Registration Form (Fillable PDF)

Please consult the manuals below for your specific category guidelines, kitchen station equipment available to you and judges assessment criteria.

ACF Student Culinary Competition Manual

ACF Professional Culinary Competition Manual

What Judges Evaluate:

There are two types of judges- floor judges and tasting judges – and they evaluate different aspects of the culinary competition.

Floor Judges:

The primary function of the floor judge is to evaluate organization. They will be looking for the following items when judging each team:

  • Is the workspace kept clear of nonessentials, for example, a mixer that is not needed for the next 30 minutes?  Is the workspace cluttered or organized?  Is the setup of the workspace sensible?
  • Does the competitor work systematically, on one job at a time?
  • Is food being handled properly, following current food safety guidelines as to time and temperature management?
  • Is the correct knife for the job utilized, and are proper cutting motions evident?  Are knives kept sharp?
  • Are products stored properly and at the right temperature? Are the refrigerator, rack, cart, knives and equipment storage well organized?
  • Is useable waste stored properly for future use?
  • Is the table free from debris?  Are floor spills attended to quickly?  Is the dish area being used as a “storage dump?”  Are cutting boards kept scrupulously clean?  Are areas kept sanitized, particularly during fish to meat to vegetable or dairy transitions?  Is the toolbox/knife bag clean and sanitary inside?
  • Is the sanitizing solution at the right strength, and is it being used properly?  Are towels used correctly?  Or, for example, is a towel used to wipe debris off a table and then to wipe a knife or a plate?  Is the apron being used as a hand wipe?  Are gloves used for the last contact with food, for example, plating up.
  • Are smooth transitions made from one job to another?  Is there a logical progression of jobs, for example, to avoid chopping herbs or mincing garlic on several occasions?  Is proper timing of menu items, cooking techniques and skills evident?
  • Are classical cooking techniques followed?  How many different techniques have been displayed?  Is the technique cited in the recipe adhered to?  For example, is mirepoix browned properly, not just heated?  Is the product roasted correctly and basted as needed, not just placed in the oven?
  • Are butchery and boning skills efficient?  Is there “profitable” removal of muscle or fish from a bone?  Are sinew and/or fat removal and correct trussing methods displayed?
  • Are menu items held the proper amount of time?  Do meats have the time to rest?  Is serving done within the allotted window?
  • Does the competitor make an organized withdrawal from the kitchen, leaving it as clean as they found it?

Tasting Judges:

Tasting Judges evaluate serving methods and presentation, as well as taste.  They address questions such as:

  • Is hot food hot and cold food cold (including plates)?  Is food fresh and colorful, presented with some height, easy to eat, seasoned and pleasing to the eye?
  • Does food have great aroma, to stimulate the appetite?
  • Are meat/fish slices even, shingled correctly, and sliced in a way that makes sense for hot food?  Are items placed closely together to help maintain temperature, or separated in a pleasing way?
  • Is proper portion size and nutritional balance evident?  Are the components of the meal balanced so that the main item is complemented in size/amount by the accompanying garnish and/or sauce?
  • Are nutritional standards adhered to in relation to the dish?  That is, is the protein weight within reasonable amounts, such as 4-6 ounces for lunch and 8-12 ounces for dinner, for all courses?
  • Is there ingredient compatibility?  Do ingredient colors harmonize naturally because of flavor combinations?
  • Do ingredients and flavor components harmonize perfectly?
  • Has the competitor demonstrated creativity and practicality?  For example, could the dish be produced just as easily for a party of 100 as behind the cook’s line on a busy night?  Does the dish show a degree of difficulty, using skills and creative flair, as opposed to something copied and overused?  Or, if using and classical idea, has a new/ contemporary concept been employed to transform the dish?
  • Does the dish have the correct flavor, taste, texture, and doneness?
  • Has the competitor shown respect for the food, for example, the duck broth tastes like duck and the Dover sole is not covered with Creole sauce?
  • Are doneness temperatures correct?  Are stated vegetable cuts correct?  Have the stated cooking techniques been applied correctly?  Do the textures correspond to what was implied in the recipe?
  • Does the flavor of the sauce or vinaigrette reflect what the recipe stated, and is it of the correct consistency?  Does it taste great?
  • Does the menu have a thread or a theme running throughout, for example, is it a regional, ethnic, seasonal or a celebratory menu?  Are all courses in sync with the menu; or, for example, has an Asian type dish been inserted into an American-type menu?  Are there any erratic or over dominant flavors that disrupt the flow of the theme?
  • Do the dish/dishes portray a high level of skill and exactness?  Does the number of different skills employed throughout the menu distinguish the caliber of the cook?


Salon Competition

Competition Sponsors


Tuo Cutlery
bmi Hospitality Management
Taylor Shellfish Farms
Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation
Royal Cup
Catering Distribution
Crimson Cove
US Food
New Chef
Clearwater Casino
Two Snooty Chefs
Core Group Sales
Canada Cutlery
Peterson Cheese
Food Services of America
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