Ryli Vissers, chef de cuisine at the University of Notre Dame, was awarded third place in the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) National Culinary Challenge on July 11, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.
Competitors in the challenge had 60 minutes, with ten additional minutes for plating, to prepare four portions of an original hot entrée featuring the mandatory protein of venison saddle, side dishes and sauces to create a balanced plate. Chef Vissers' impressive take on the theme was titled "Venison Harvest" and included poached venison loin filled with tarragon farce, venison chili, buckwheat spaetzle, braised red cabbage, glace celery root, caraway cracker, and blackberry compote.
In March, Chef Vissers won first place in the NACUFS Midwest Regional Conference Culinary Challenge at the University of Northern Iowa, earning him a spot in the national challenge. His five competitors were the winners of their prospective regional culinary challenges, coming from across the United States and Canada.
As chef de cuisine for University Catering at Notre Dame, Chef Vissers leads a diverse staff responsible for a butcher shop, garde manger, grab & go, steward areas, and hot food kitchen. Emphasizing respect of both food and his teammates, he consistently cultivates a culture of excellence, resulting in exceptional food quality. Prior to this role, he served as a cook for the Notre Dame football team.
Before joining Notre Dame in 2016, Chef Vissers worked at a bakery and fine dining restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin. He holds an associate’s degree in culinary arts as well as a certificate for advanced baking and pastry arts from Fox Valley Tech.
Looking to the future, Chef Vissers plans to continue to fine tune and improve the execution of his dish for future competitions.