A-B Tech Culinary Students Head to American Culinary Federation National Finals

Student Team and Student Chef
to Vie for
National Titles in New Orleans July 16-19


Asheville, N.C. — A-B Tech’s renowned Culinary Arts program is sending a student team and student chef to New Orleans to compete in the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) National Finals on July 16-19. This year’s competition marks a record-setting 14th time an A-B Tech student team has competed for the national title and the first time an A-B Tech student has competed for student chef.

A-B Tech’s student team and student chef secured their spots in the national contest in March by winning the Southeast Region at the ACF’s national qualifying competition in Overland Park, Kansas.

Roman Nourse Headshot

A-B Tech’s student “hot food” team is comprised of captain Jason Gray, Nickolas Abbott, Abbey Franklin, Ashley Neri, and Yajaira Marlen Sandoval-Castenada. Roman Nourse will vie for Student Chef of the Year. Nourse also served as captain of the A-B Tech team that competed in the national finals in 2022.

The team’s coaches are Chef Instructors Chris Bugher and Stephen Hertz.

Bugher said the Southeast contest was one of the most challenging he’s seen in years, and he expects an even higher bar at the national finals. Hertz said students on this year’s team “have been an inspiration not only in their determination and focus to their work and menu, but also in their comradery and humility to their fellow competitors. They continually show up to win, but also to make friends and network with their opposition.”

The students and chef instructors continue to showcase the college’s Culinary Arts program, said Cathy Horton, chair of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. “A-B Tech Culinary has long been known as a top culinary school in the country and these team members embody the passion, skill, and dedication to their craft that we are known for. I’m incredibly proud of all of them and look forward to taking NOLA by storm!”

A-B Tech’s student team will compete on Monday, July 17, and Nourse competes Tuesday, July 18. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner set for Wednesday, July 19. The students’ trip to New Orleans was sponsored by The Biltmore.

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