News

Art Institutes Chefs Win Seven Bronze Medals at International Culinary Olympics

By: The Art Institutes

October 19, 2012

Chef Chris Cwierz of The Art Institute of Phoenix on the Winning Team

A team of top chefs from The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes schools came home with seven bronze medals when they competed as a regional team at the International Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. They were among 48 regional teams from around the world going for medals during the four days of competition between opening ceremonies on Oct. 5 and the awards ceremony on Oct. 10.

In addition to the team medals, Chef Chris Cwiertz and Chef Kurt Lechner won bronze medals in individual competition in the pastry category.

Chef Chris Cwierz of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix was part of this year’s winning team.

“Competing at the international level against the best chefs from all over the world is a huge challenge. Our team prepared and practiced for this competition with dedication and commitment for many months to represent The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes,” said Chef Michael Nenes, Assistant Vice President of Culinary Arts.  “We should be very proud of our team.”

More than 1,500 chefs representing at least 45 countries compete in the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition. The IKA, founded in 1896, is a world-class venue for talented chefs from around the globe to showcase culinary skill and innovation. Similar to the Olympic Games of sport, which bring together the world’s best athletes, the IKA is the single most elite competitive culinary event. Every four years, professional teams and individuals from around the world compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in several categories. The United States has participated in the Culinary Olympics since 1956.

The team fielded by The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes includes: Daryl Shular, CEC, Team Captain; Walter Lieble, CMC, AAC, BBA, WACS Global Master Chef; Kurt Lechner, MPC, CEPC, ACE; John D. Miller, CEC, CHE; Chris Cwierz; Joe Bonaparte, CCE, CCC, Supporting Chef; Larry Matson, CEC, CCE, Supporting Chef; and Michael Nenes, CEC, CCE, Team Manager.

Each chef represents the best of the best at The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes.

Joe Bonaparte, CCE, CCC
Director of Curriculum and Quality Assurance, The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes
Chef Joe Bonaparte began his career with The Art Institutes system of schools (“The Art Institutes”) as a faculty member at The Art Institute of Houston and then became the first academic director of Culinary Arts at The Art Institute of Charlotte, a campus of South University. In 2003, he was the only American chef selected to participate in an international cooking competition in Bologna, Italy, and he was one of only three US chefs selected to participate in October 2008 in an international slow-food conference that drew some 6,000 chefs, farmers and producers to Italy. Chef Bonaparte has an MS in hospitality management and a BS in hotel-restaurant management from the University of Houston (Houston, TX).

Chris Cwierz
Chef Faculty, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix
Chef Chris Cwierz is an accomplished pastry chef whose creations have been seen in such varied venues as Wigwam Gold Resort & Spa, The Pastry Shop and the Willo Baking Company. Before his current position with The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix, Chef Cwierz taught pastry arts at Mesa Community College and Notter School of Pastry Arts. He holds an AOS in baking and pastry from Westmoreland County Community College (Youngwood, PA) and a BS in hospitality management from the University of Phoenix.

Kurt Lechner, MPC, CEPC, ACE
Chef Faculty, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
Chef Kurt Lechner learned his profession as a baker and confectioner in the small town of Neunkirchen in Austria and then moved to Vienna, Austria, to practice the pastry arts for a number of bakeries.  After moving to the U.S. in 1985, he was a pastry chef in catering companies, hotels and universities in Utah and California, before coming to The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego.   Chef Lechner holds a Konditor Meister degree that he earned in Austria.

Walter Lieble, CMC, AAC, BBA, WACS Global Master Chef
Chef Faculty, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix
Chef Walter Lieble trained in the Black Forest region of Germany as a pastry chef and cook. He has applied his culinary and artistic skills in fine hotels, resorts, country clubs, cruise ships, and restaurants in Germany, Sweden, England, Canada and the United States. A Certified Master Chef, he has won numerous culinary awards, including one silver and four gold medals from the International Culinary Olympics. In addition to teaching future culinarians for more than 15 years, Chef Lieble has long been active with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and has been recognized for his contributions with the national ACF President’s Medal, as well as Chef of the Year and Educator of the Year by the ACF Greater Phoenix Chapter.

Larry Matson, CEC, CCE
Chef Director, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Dallas, a campus of South University
Along with years of experience in restaurants, private clubs, and hospitals, Chef Larry Matson has spent more than 20 years teaching and directing culinary programs for The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Houston and The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Dallas. In addition, he racked up two silver medals in the International Culinary Olympics in 2008 and three gold medals at three International Chef Master Challenges in China from 2003 to 2006, as well as medals at numerous local culinary competitions. Chef Matson has an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio, TX), a BS in hotel & restaurant management from the University of Houston (Houston, TX) and an AAS in restaurant management with chef training from San Jacinto Junior College (Pasadena, TX). 

John D. Miller, CEC, CHE
Assistant Chef Director, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
Chef John D. Miller’s culinary training began under French Certified Master Chef Jean Maurice Jugé and continued under Certified Master Chef Laurence McFadden. His extensive culinary and management experience includes the Ritz Carlton, the Log Cabin Restaurant and Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurants. Chef Miller has been an instructor and held managerial positions at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Washington, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, and The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego. His education includes a BA in East Asian studies – Japanese from Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA) and an AOS in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY).

Michael Nenes, CEC, CCE
Assistant Vice President of Culinary Arts, The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes
Chef Michael Nenes began his career with The Art Institutes in 1992 at The Art Institute of Houston as its first academic director of culinary arts. Since assuming his current role in 2004, he oversees Culinary Arts curriculum, supports academic directors of Culinary Arts at Art Institutes schools throughout North America and aids in designing the school system’s culinary facilities and new product development. Prior to joining The Art Institutes, Chef Nenes owned and operated successful restaurants in Texas, Alaska and Colorado, as well as being an executive chef for Aramark. The author of “American Regional Cuisine,” Chef Nenes has also consulted for Campbell Soup Company, the Rice Council of America, Moet & Chandon Champagne and Star Fleet Cruise Ships. Chef Nenes holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Jones International University (Centennial, CO), a BS in business administration/hotel and restaurant management from Thomas Edison State College (Trenton, NJ) and a Certificate of Diplome Culinarie from the New England Culinary Institute (Montpelier, VT).

Daryl Shular, CEC
Alumnus, Associate in Arts, Culinary Arts, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta, 1994
Chef Daryl Shular is an accomplished competitor, having amassed 12 gold medals and eight best in show awards in local American Culinary Federation (ACF) competitions, and a gold medal at the International Culinary Olympics in 2008. He has also applied his skills at many Atlanta-area restaurants and food service companies, including Performance Foodservice – Milton’s, Dunwoody Country Club, Villa Christina, Anthony’s and the Marriott Marquis. His teaching experience includes The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta. Chef Shular is currently executive chef and owner of Shular’s Culinary Entertainment Group.

The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) is a system of more than 50 educational institutions located throughout North America. The Art Institutes schools provide an important source for design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University. OH Registration # 04-01-1698B, AC0165, AC0080, Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 1287, 3427, 3110, 2581.See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important information.

By: The Art Institutes

October 19, 2012