Restaurant and Foodservice Management senior, Max Sherard, will compete in the 3rd International Tapas Competition.  Sherard will join thirteen international competitors in Valladolid, Spain on November 6-9.  As one of four American students, he will represent the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management, accompanied by Professor Robert Ashley.

Sherard recently placed first in a preliminary Tapas Competition held at the Rosen College, serving up: marinado de corvina drizzled with a honey citrus vinaigrette and paprika popcorn; a prosciutto lollipop trio; fried calamari with lemon aioli; and roasted fingerling potatoes seasoned with paprika oil and parsley.

The inspiration behind his winning dishes was a balance of traditional tapas and modern cuisine.  Sherard explains, “I have been researching and following some of the major players in the culinary industry who utilize molecular gastronomy and really have a playful, artistic appeal to the way they present their food.”

Sherard however, has a few tricks up his sleeve in preparation for Valladolid.  “I’m lucky enough to have a close friend, currently in Spain, suggest some ingredients that are local to the area, which I will be working with for the big competition,” he reveals.

Sherard is no stranger to culinary competitions. He has competed in several national events, including Family Career and Community Leaders of America’s STAR Events and the National ProStart Invitational.  He recently judged a high school culinary competition at the Orange County Convention Center.

As a Chamberlain High School alumnus, Sherard took part in their Culinary Operations Academy, a real world learning environment, which allows students to operate an industrial kitchen that caters school events and offers lunch to students and faculty. “Outback Steakhouse sponsored and created the Outback Café, a full sized student restaurant, complete with hardwood floors, booth seating and artwork,” Sherard recalls.

With graduation around the corner, Sherard is eager to experience as many cultures and cuisines as possible.  “I chose Rosen College because I wanted the full college experience and a well-rounded degree from the University of Central Florida,” he affirms. He complements his undergraduate education through various electives, including independent study.

He dreams of becoming a household name, as a result of hard work and dedication to his craft.  Owning a restaurant would be expected, however, Sherard exclaims, “I’ve looked at the big picture and I want to be the next Food Network star! I want to have my face next to Emeril and Rachel Ray on grocery store shelves.”

Having traveled to various European countries, including a culinary externship in Germany, Sherard is excited to venture to Spain. With limited knowledge of the Spanish language, he jokes “There is a definite language barrier, but I have found that hand gestures work wonders!”

With this opportunity of a lifetime, Sherard expresses, “I’m looking forward to gaining new experiences, eating traditional Spanish cuisine and competing at this high caliber level.”

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