A lively culinary salon competition featuring 61 entries and 270 individual display pieces was a highlight of this year's East-South Regional Restaurant Exposition at the Sheraton Washington Hotel.

Salon organizers Gerard Pain and Robert Greault pointed with pride to 15 entries from apprentices and eight from culinary students as indicators that new vitality has been instilled in the competition. They pointed out that the exhibit, which was open to the public on April 19, 20 and 21, attracted three times as many entries as the 1979 salon. They felt the quality of of workmanship was better, too, and praised the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington for its cooperation.

Next year, Pain said, there are plans to open the show up to chefs from neighboring states. He also encouraged more embassy and hotel chefs to consider entering the competition. This year Colin Capon and Harry Simpson of the British Embassy took first place in the mini-buffet category. s

Other winners were:

Grand Buffet, Grand Prize, A team from the Hyatt Regency Hotel captained by executive chef Franz Mitterer; second prize, A team from the Iron Skillet Retaurant captained by chef Alexander Comninidis; third prize, a team from the Sheraton Washington Hotel captained by executive chef Michael Lee Cahhal.

Most Original Piece of the Show: Shrimp Boat by Alexander Cominidis.

Special Judges Award: Ice carving by Michael Lee Cahhal.

Best Piece of the Show: Saddle of Veal by Klaus Helmin, executive chef, Watergate Terrace.

Pastry Buffet Grand Prize: A team from Pasta, Inc., captained by Patrick Musel.

Mini Buffet: First Prize, British Embassy; second prize, Watergate Terrace (Klaus P. Helmin and Dieter Schneider); third prize, Maison Blanche (Pierre Chambrin).

Individual Cold Platters: First prize, La Maree (Frederick J. Forcyk); second prize, Wolf Trap Delicatessen & Restaurant (Innocencio Balderas); third prize, Metropolitan Club (Ian A. Ale). (

Individual Pastry Display: First prize, Le Begatell (Yann Machard); second prize, Embassy of Great Britian (Colin Capon); third prize, Pastries Francaises (Philippe Laurier).

Apprentice Competition: First prize, Angela Katunas (Alibi Restaurant); second prize, Sandra Vance (National Geographic); third prize, Robert G. Whaley (Watergate Terrace).

Single Entry: First prize, Armando Felix (Plata Grande Restaurant); second prize, Adolf J. Rehm (Royal Arms); third prize, Eileen Porter Carlson (Pastries Francaises).

Student Competition: First prize, John Spigelmyes (T.C. Williams High School); second prize, Jewell Lewis (T.C. Williams High School); Elisabeth Johnson (Culinary School of Washington).