IACC-Americas Connect 2018

IACC Global Copper Skillet

The final stage of the Copper Skillet Competition will take place on Tuesday, April 17 at the Franklin Institute. During the competition, five chefs from around the globe will compete for the coveted Copper Skillet Award and take home the title of the Conference Venue Chef of the Year. Take this opportunity to network with industry peers while watching an exciting display of culinary expertise. You won’t want to miss it!

Meet the Chefs!

Junior Category Chefs include:

Ryan Beauvais Bio Photo  

Ryan Beauvais- NAV Centre | Canada

Ryan Beauvais was born in the beautiful border town of Cornwall, Ontario. While attending St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School, Ryan took his first culinary class.  This was when he decided his destiny was to become a Chef. After graduation, Ryan was accepted to Algonquin College’s renowned Culinary Program. He successfully completed his “Cook One” and “Cook Two” apprenticeship. Upon his return to the city, Ryan finalized his “Meat Cutter” apprenticeship at the Seaway Valley Meat Cutting Institute.

Ryan showed interest in employment with the Sodexo culinary team at NAV Centre.  After exploring his education, portfolio and skill, we welcomed the budding chef in March of 2017. This past year has proved to be one for the record books for this young talent.  In his current role as a Second Cook servicing the clientele of the Jet Set Pub, he executes a casual, fun, yet upscale menu. NAV Centre held an In-House Black Box Competition on October 10, 2017, where Ryan won First Place by preparing Surf & Turf which consisted of: Tuna with caramelized cherry tomatoes & fresh figs and pan-seared rack of lamb.  Ryan’s, fresh perspective led him to win first place at the IACC Copper Skillet Canadian Cook-Off in Toronto, Ontario.

He is currently perfecting his craft as he prepares to represent NAV Centre at the IACC North American Copper Skillet in Chicago, Illinois.


Leanna Photo

Leanna Higgs- Wyboston Lakes | United Kingdom

Leanna Higgs moved to Bedford from her roots of Kettering to seek further progression of her strong interests in food and catering. Leanna studied and achieved excellent work at Bedford College and held a Level 3 standard in the catering industry. 

In 2014, Leanna began working for Wyboston Lakes as a Commi Chef, with her incredible committed attitude and positivity towards her passion of food, has now been promoted to Chef De Partie. Leanna has participated in a number of competitions through her time at Wyboston Lakes and received the first place award for “Best Main Course” granted by Venues of Excellence in 2016.

Leanna continues to show compassion through her career daily by practicing new techniques and willingness towards the company. 

In her free time, Leanna loves to share her knowledge of food and helps others to achieve her standard of work with a friendly, encouraging approach. Lastly, she is always ready to reach out for new audiences and progress her skills.







Senior Category Chefs include:


Dhruba Dutta Bhatta- Macquarie Graduate School of Management | Australia 

Dhruba is capable of managing complex dining services while overseeing and motivating staff to perform to the best of their abilities across every service. He consistently creates new recipes and menus, implementing seasonal ingredients and modern techniques. He has worked at MGSM Australia, The STAR Australia, Hyatt Regency Nepal, and the Fulbari Resort & Spa Nepal.


Gregory Halgand 

Grégory Halgand- Chalet Royalp Hotel & Spa | Switzerland

Chef, Grégory Halgand, is passionate about seasonal cuisine and making dishes made from fresh-farm food.

With many years of experience, this French Chef from the region of Brittany has proven himself capable at many prestigious establishments. He has worked with Bernard Loiseau, at his 3 star Michelin, and with Mr. Patrick Jeffroy as his 2 star Michelin in Carantec. He also worked as sous-chef with Mr. Jean-Luc Rabanel at Arles where he participated to gain the second Michelin Star. Later, he worked in prestigious palaces in Paris with Eric Briffard’s team at  the 2 star Michelin, Georges V, as well as la Tour d’ Argent, before joining the RoyAlp team as Chef Adjoint (May 2015). His hard work was enough to earn him the 1 star at the Jardin des Alpes, fine-dining restaurant of the RoyAlp.

During his career, Grégory Halgand was given various culinary awards, such as the 2nd Prize at the Toques d’Or, and 2nd Prize, Prosper Montagne, and finally won the 3rd place in the Swiss competition for the 2016 prestigious Taittinger culinary competition. 

In 2018, the team won 1 Michelin Star for the fine-dining restaurant, le Jardin des Alpes and 16 points in Gault & Millau 2018. 


Brian Wagner Photo 

Brian Wagner- Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center | United States

A native of New Jersey, Chef Brian brings more than 15 years of diverse culinary experience to the Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center.  He was educated at the Arizona Culinary Institute and began his career in some of the finest four and five star dining establishments in the Northeast.  From being a tournant to a fish cook, Chef Brian gained experience early on in his career to develop his culinary skills. He was later recruited to Joel Robuchon’s restaurant in Las Vegas as a Master Cook.  This unforgettable experience at the three Michelin Star Restaurant allowed Chef Brian to learn from the very best in the business.  From this opportunity, Chef Brian became the Sous Chef at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. This was his first management role and quickly grew a name for himself in the Vegas community. From there he moved to a Chef de Cuisine role at Planet Hollywood and then the Paris Hotel. After years in the Vegas culinary scene, Chef Brian came back to his Jersey roots to take on the Executive Chef role at the Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center in Princeton, New Jersey.  In all of Chef Brian’s culinary experiences that have all contributed to his philosophy of local, and fresh, creative cooking. 

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