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Elizabeth Falkner Takes Over as President of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

Holland America Line Culinary Council member Elizabeth Falkner just took over as the president of the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs organization.

Her term began at the end of the organization’s 21st annual conference, which was held March 9-11, 2014, in downtown Chicago. Holland America Line was proud to be the exclusive cruise sponsor.

During the conference, a Culinary Challenge was held among the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs members to crown the top chef in attendance, with a Holland America Line cruise for two awarded as the grand prize.

The star-studded event pitted teams of two vying to make it to the final sudden-death round. Of the final team of two, only one chef would be named the winner. Three celebrity chef coaches — Christina Tosi, Hedy Goldsmith and Malika Ameen — assisted one team each.

Judging the event were three all-stars in the culinary world: Mindy Segal, Ina Pinkney, and Cat De Orio. Superstar pastry chef Sherry Yard was a surprise judge for the sudden death round.

Winner Micki Weinberg, upper left, works to prepare her dish. Photos of the event courtesy of WCR.

Winner Micki Weinberg, upper left, works to prepare her dish. Photos of the event courtesy of WCR.

The teams competed in three 20-minute rounds in a positive environment, with no dishes landing on the chopping block and no eliminations. The judges selected one winning team each round, and then named an overall winning team to compete in the five-minute sudden death round for the chance to win the Holland America Line cruise.

The winner of the competition was Micki Weinberg, and her winning dish was “Scallops seared in lemon olive oil, deglazed with Chardonnay and Soy Yuzu glaze, topped with sesame seeds and sea salt.” Upon her win it was announced that one of her recipes will be featured onboard, so be sure to check the menu on your upcoming cruise!

Holland America Line’s Mark Kammerer, senior vice president of marketing and North America sales, and Steve Kirsch, director of culinary operations, attended the event to support Falker and perhaps find some fabulous chefs from the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs organization to participate in the line’s Culinary Arts Center guest chef program.

From left, Kammerer, Falkner and Kirsch.

From left, Kammerer, Falkner and Kirsch.

About Chef Elizabeth Falkner
Falkner is a member of Holland America Line’s esteemed Culinary Council, along with HAL’s Master Chef and Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin, and renowned international chefs Mark Best, Jonnie Boer, David Burke and Jacques Torres. Falkner’s focus is to enhance appetizers and main courses for Holland America Line’s menus, in addition to offering her guidance to our culinary program.

A San Francisco, Calif., native, Falkner began her career working for Julian Serrano at Masa’s, a four-star French restaurant and later for Traci Des Jardins at Rubicon. She then started her own business as chef and a managing partner for two Michelin-recommended restaurants: first at Citizen Cake and then at her second restaurant, Orson. Falkner is known as a pioneer and expert in many types of cuisines.

Falkner is the recipient of numerous awards including a nomination for a James Beard Award. She also was named one of America’s 10 top pastry chefs by Bon Appetit magazine and, most recently, she placed first at the 2012 World Pizza Championships in Naples, Italy.

In Dec. 2012, Falkner was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame. That same month, she released her second book “Cooking Off the Clock.” Her first cookbook, “Demolition Desserts,” was a finalist for the International Association of Culinary Professional’s Julia Child, Best First Cookbook Award and was selected “favorite book” by the students of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

About Women Chefs & Restaurateurs
The mission of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs is to promote and enhance the education, advancement and connection of women in the culinary industry. Formed in 1993 by eight of the nation’s top women chefs and restaurateurs, WCR has grown to a membership of over 2,000 members, offering a variety of networking, professional and support services.

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