Western chef to compete in national culinary contest

Kevin "K.C." Camarillo, the chef manager in the Viking Commons, will compete in the upcoming 2012 West Region ARAMARK Culinary Excellence Challenge, a contest that pits chefs from universities nationwide against each other in a battle for the "Copper Pot" trophy.

The competition consists of 12 regional qualifying competitions, with the top three chefs from each region advancing to the national contest in the fall. The west region event will be held at California State University – Fullerton March 27 to 28; Camarillo will be taking on 17 chefs from universities throughout the region. Nationwide, more than 150 ARAMARK chefs are expected to compete.

As part of the competition, each chef must create an appetizer, entrée and dessert using ingredients from a mystery basket. The chefs will prepare one show-plate each for the students and judges and a taster-plate for each judge. The chefs will have four hours to prepare their meals from prep to finish. Students are encouraged to attend the culinary competitions and to cast their vote to help select the winning chef.

Up for grabs are bragging rights and the chance to represent the regional team at the ARAMARK Culinary Excellence National Challenge to be held in November and simulcast live online. Additionally, the menu items created during the competition will be added to the campus dining menu.

“We are extremely excited for Chef K.C. and know he will do great in the competition,” said Stephen Wadsworth, resident district manager for WWU Dining Services/ARAMARK. “He’s a talented chef, is very engaged with our students and is passionate about what he does.”

As a child, Camarillo would help his mom in the kitchen with her cake-decorating business. In his career, he’s been a corporate trainer for Claim Jumper, California Pizza Kitchen and Cucina Cucina, was the sous chef at CooperSmith's Pub and Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo., and most recently was the executive chef at Central Washington University. He earned his culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I am honored to be able to represent Western Washington University and want to represent Western in a way that will put us on the map,” Camarillo said.

For more information on the competition, contact Lucas Minor at (360) 650-6625 or minor-lucas@aramark.com.