Daniel Knerr, executive chef of The Black Pearl, Newport, R.I., received the American Culinary Federation's (ACF) 42nd-annual “Chef of the Year” award at ACF's national convention at the Orlando World Center Marriott in July. Knerr, an ACF-certified executive chef (CEC), has served as The Black Pearl's executive chef for 19 years. He trained and worked with chefs of such world-renowned restaurants as Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, La CÃ´te Basque in New York, Moulin de Mougins in southern France, Restaurant Taillevent in Paris, and The French Laundry in California's Napa Valley. While head chef of The Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, Pa., Knerr's cooking received three stars from The New York Times. Besides membership in the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), Knerr is a member of Le Amis d'Escoffier Society and Confrerie de la ChaÃ®nes des Rotisseurs. He is president of ACF Rhode Island Chapter and serves on the advisory board of the Newport Area Career and Technical Center. This year's Chef of the Year was determined by cook-off in which four chefs from different regions of the nation competed for the title. Knerr's three-course entry--creamy lobster bisque with savory crab custard and crispy taro hay; fillet of striped bass baked with herbal panko crust on saffron couscous and spinach; and a three-flavor veal medley featuring stuffed braised veal cheek, crispy sweetbread nuggets and mignonette of veal tenderloin, all with Asian influence--scored highest among judges who evaluated taste, presentation and timing. Knerr received the winner's trophy and $5,000.