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IFSA Chefs Competition




Congratulations to our 2016 Best In-Flight Executive Chef, PJ Lemoncelli, Executive Chef of Preferred Meals!


Here is a list of the past years' winners:

2015 Winner


2014 Winner

Chef, Haiko-Michael Schafer, Emirates Flight Catering
Chef Haiko-Michael Schafer joined Emirates Flight Catering in 2006 where he now serves as Executive Chef overseeing menu & product development, catering operations and junior apprentice training. His passion for the culinary profession comes from the excitement of creating special dishes from fresh ingredients and the dining enjoyment his guests and customers experience.

2013 Winner

Chef Daniel Klein, LSG Sky Chefs

Originally from Alsace-France, Executive Chef Daniel Klein grew up in a family where cooking played a large role in his childhood.  After graduating with Honors, he went for a “ tour de France”  and with dedication, hard work, and vision, he spent the next 7 years gaining invaluable experience in many of France’s finest restaurants, working under influential leaders and Michelin Starred Chefs who helped shape his style and depth of knowledge. His first venture into business came at age 27 when he opened the Gourmet Sans Chiqué Restaurant in Strasbourg, France.  Three years later, he opened a Bistro Café and as chef/owner he operated them both for 11 years. His airline catering career began in 2008 as Executive Chef with LSG Sky Chefs at IAH where he gained specialized experience servicing major Middle Eastern carriers and Halal procedures.  In 2011, he was promoted to Executive Chef of Culinary Development with the Program Management group at the LSG Headquarters in Dallas.  He then earned another promotion to his current role as R&D Executive Chef in 2012.

2012 Winner

Chef Ravi Nage, Gate Gourmet
Ravi Nage joined Gate Gourmet in July 2009 as an Executive Chef responsible for running one of their largest units, IAD Washington Dulles Airport Kitchen overlooking some of the most prestigious customers in the gategroup. Chef Ravi is based in Reston, Virginia, at the corporate headquarters office where he moved once he was promoted to the Menu Design Group as Executive Chef of Culinary Training. He was drawn to the kitchen since he was a little child growing up in Mumbai, India.  He specializes in the culinary delights of the South Asian Cuisine.

2011 Winner

Chef Matt McNutt, LSG Sky Chefs
Chef McNutt began his love of food with the basics from his mother. This passion drew him to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he graduated within the top 5% of his class in 1993. Chef McNutt was drawn home to Texas and Club Corp for more training beginning with Las Colinas Country Club and quickly moved to Stonebriar Country Club where he found his mentor, Brad Evers. During the next couple of years, he continued his career growth by finding a role in Research and Development. In April 2009, Chef McNutt was asked to join LSG Sky Chefs as one of the Culinary Development Executive Chefs. Matt is striving to help bring Airline Catering to a new level.

2010 Winner

Chef Clifton Lyles, LSG Sky Chefs
Chef Clifton Lyles has a passion for food. Chef Lyles received his training at the California Culinary Academy where he graduated in 1994. After graduation, Chef Lyles displayed his talents in the kitchens of many great restaurants. Throughout the past 16 years, Chef Lyles has concentrated his skills in the Seattle and California bar area. Chef Lyles currently works as an Executive Chef in Seattle for LSG Sky Chefs. Chef Lyles was also a competitor in the 2009 IFSA Chef's Competition.

2009 Winner

Chef Moe Nicholas Elmaher, Gate Gourmet
Chef Elmaher joined Gate Gourmet as a Product Development Chef in August 2006. He travels regularly throughout the Gate Gourmet network to assist kitchens with menu presentations and improvements in quality and production. The Moroccan-born chef completed his four-year apprenticeship with Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, in French-Classical & Nouvelle Cuisine, Continental, Contemporary and Mediterranean Cuisine. Chef Moe later served as a private cook for the Garimaldi family in Monaco and prepared special cuisine for Princess Grace Kelly. He has more than 25 years of catering experience.

2008 Winner

Chef Yoshimitsu Nishio, TFK Corporation
A 22-year veteran of the industry, Chef Nishio began working with the TFK Corporation in 1986. He was trained in France, and received the French Cuisine Certificate. During his tenure at TFK, he has been assigned to the In-flight Meal Production and the In-flight Cold Kitchen sections. He is based out of the Narita International Airport in Japan.