InterContinental® San Juan and The Jose A. Santana International School of Hospitality Culinary Arts Student Win IHG's Cooking Competition
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InterContinental® San Juan and The Jose A. Santana International School of Hospitality Culinary Arts Student Win IHG's Cooking Competition

First Place Student Wins $5,000 Scholarship and Winning Dish will be Featured on all Intercontinental Hotel Menus Nationwide the Week of June 2

May 16, 2014 // // ATLANTA – InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce the InterContinental San Juan and Victor Bonano Ortiz, a culinary student at the José A. (Tony) Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts as the winners of the brand's Ultimate Culinary Clash, a cooking competition and scholarship fundraiser for culinary students. With the assistance of InterContinental San Juan Executive Chef Efraín Cruz, Ortiz received top honors against four other culinary students paired with InterContinental properties in the contest winning a $5,000 scholarship from the InterContinental brand. The competition took place Thursday, May 15 at the InterContinental® San Francisco hotel.

Eight accomplished culinary personalities, including Chef Todd English, restaurateur of the InterContinental® New York Times Square hotel's Ça Va Brasserie, judged the competition and scored each dish on taste, creativity and presentation. Winning student Ortiz impressed the judges with his dish "Apple Sage Roasted Pork Belly with Butternut Squash, Exotic Mushrooms Torteloni, Petit Pois and Hickory Smoked Pork Jus." His creation will be featured in InterContinental hotel restaurants across the U.S. and Puerto Rico the week of June 2 and on the InterContinental Kitchen Cookbook iPad app, which houses a collection of inspiring recipes created by InterContinental hotels' executive chefs from around the world.

"This young chef was extremely enthusiastic and brought a Caribbean flare to San Francisco," said English. "He created an interesting variation on the classic surf and turf, and the pork belly melted in your mouth. It was also a very beautiful dish."

Showcasing the brand's commitment to culinary excellence, the Ultimate Culinary Clash serves as an opportunity for the InterContinental brand to help inspire the next generation of culinary stars by giving exceptional young talent the stage and support to progress their culinary training in a meaningful way. Over the course of five months, five InterContinental properties across the United States and Puerto Rico held local competitions with culinary students. The first place winners from each hotel received the opportunity to move forward to the Ultimate Culinary Clash in San Francisco and also have their dish featured on their local hotel restaurant's menu for a night. The InterContinental properties' restaurants and culinary schools that participated in this year's contest were:

  • InterContinental® Buckhead Atlanta hotel's Southern Art and Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta
  • InterContinental® Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel's Michael Jordan's Steakhouse andLe Cordon Bleu Chicago
  • InterContinental San Francisco hotel's Luceand Le Cordon Bleu San Francisco
  • InterContinental New York Times Square hotel's Ça Va Brasserie and Culinary Institute of America
  • InterContinental San Juan hotel's Trattoria Italiana  and José A. Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts

The Culinary Clash began three years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel's Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from the Le Cordon Bleu San Francisco to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant's Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was expanded this year to include other InterContinental brand hotels from the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

"While individuals can be born with the passion and the natural talent to be a good cook, becoming a great chef is something that needs to be developed and inspired by those who have been there before," explains Michelin-Star Executive Chef Daniel Corey of the InterContinental® San Francisco hotel's restaurant, Luce. "In my professional career, it was the mentors who I worked alongside as a young chef, like Chef Anna Buatista and Chef Dominque Crenn, who influenced my progression and got me to where I am today. It was exciting to see the talent that shined throughout the entirety of the competition, and to have hopefully help shape and educate these aspiring young chefs."

The InterContinental San Francisco hotel and Le Cordon Bleu San Francisco student Kennieth Hunter won second place, and Hunter will receive a gift certificate to the Japanese specialty knife store Korin.

About InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has 181 hotels located in more than 60 countries with local insight that comes from over 60 years of experience. As a brand, we believe that superior, understated service and outstanding facilities are important, but what makes us truly different is the genuine interest we show in our guests. Our desire is to help guests make the most of their time. We connect our well-traveled guests to what's special about a destination, by sharing our knowledge, so they enjoy authentic experiences that will enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. For more information, visit, or

About IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts.

IHG manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world's first and largest hotel loyalty programme with nearly 79 million members worldwide. The programme was relaunched in July 2013, offering enhanced benefits for members including free internet across all hotels, globally.

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,700 hotels and 688,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories, with more than 1,100 hotels in its development pipeline.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.
Visit for hotel information and reservations and for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit:,, or

Media Contact:

Kristal McKanders
InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts
+1(770) 604-2082



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