Virginia Tech Chef Brian Mann, of Pulaski, Va., recently won first-place from The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Mid Atlantic Conference Culinary Challenge and a silver American Culinary Federation medal.
Winning the regional contest qualifies Mann, the food production manager and sous chef at Virginia Tech's West End Market since 2002, to compete at the national NACUFS convention in New Orleans in July.
A specialist in classic French food with a nouvelle approach, Mann, originally of Boston, won with his recipe for roasted lamb loin with spinach, shitake duxelles, and lamb jus — paired with a potato and Maytag blue cheese latkes, ratatouille, crispy pancetta, and asparagus with truffle essence.
The American Culinary Federation-certified sous chef began his career in an Italian restaurant 19 years ago in Boston. Mann attended Newbury College in Brookline, Mass., and worked at the famous Ken's Steak House in Boston and other restaurants in Cape Cod, Mass., and Hampton Beach, N.H., Key West, Fla., and Virginia.
Mann has won several other medals in culinary competitions: a second place overall and a bronze medal for his cold food platter at the American Culinary Federation Southeastern Conference in 2004; and a second place overall and a bronze medal at the 2003 National Association of College and University Food Services Culinary Challenge, Mid Atlantic Regional Conference.
West End Market, one of Tech's prize-winning, restaurant-style dining halls, focuses on venues that prepare food in front of the customer. The facility has won multiple national awards and offers seven different venues: Bistro Firenze, with wood-oven pizzas; Wrap World, with seasoned tortillas stuffed with rice and a variety of meat and vegetable combinations; Cutting Edge Delicatessen, with hot and cold made-to-order sandwiches; Leaf and Ladle, with made-to-order salads, as well as soups served in fresh bread bowls; Fighting Gobbler Sports Lounge, with signature hamburgers and appetizers; Wired, with gourmet coffee and Ethernet-connected computers; and J. P.'s Chop House, with cut-to-order, grilled steaks.