The American Academy of Chefs American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame™ Celebrated Chefs

The American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame™ Committee has created a new category of induction. This category recognizes individuals for their outstanding achievements in the culinary industry by inducting them into the American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame™ as Celebrated Chefs.


  • Recipients of this honor are trendsetters in the industry and have distinguished themselves in the culinary world.
  • These individuals are nationally and/or internationally recognized through print and/or live media for their contributions to the profession.
  • They are culinary icons and continue to serve as role models by mentoring and providing support to future culinarians.


Susan Spicer
Susan Spicer


Susan Spicer began her cooking career in New Orleans as an apprentice to Daniel Bonnot at the Louis XVI Restaurant in 1979. After a four-month stage with Roland Durand at the Hotel Sofitel in Paris in 1982, she returned to New Orleans to open the 60-seat bistro Savoir Faire in the St. Charles Hotel. She traveled extensively in California and Europe for six months in 1985, returning to New Orleans. In 1986, she opened the Bistro at Maison deVille, where she received Food and Wine Magazine's Best Chef, Southeast award in 1989.

Spicer formed a partnership with Regina Keever and opened Bayona in the French Quarter in 1990. With support from local diners and critics, Bayona soon earned national attention and has been featured in numerous publications. Spicer owned and operated Spice, Inc., a specialty food market with takeout food, cooking classes and an artisan bakery, from 1997 to 1999. This concept developed into Wild Flour Breads, which she currently co-owns with partner Sandy Whann.

Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans was published in 2007 and received numerous recognitions, including a nomination for Best American Cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Spicer was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2010.

In 2010, Spicer opened MONDO, a casual family-style restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans. Her most recent project is Rosedale, a neighborhood establishment in a historic building that serves her own style of Louisiana home cooking.

Norman Van Aken
Norman Van Aken


Norman Van Aken has been described as “legendary, visionary and a trailblazer” as well as “the culinary Titan of Florida.” He is “the founding father of “New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of ’fusion’ to the culinary world. Chef Van Aken is chef-owner of Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and 1921 by Norman Van Aken in Mount Dora, Florida. He is currently building a cooking school in Miami. Van Aken is a national member of the American Culinary Federation. In 2006, Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy ‘Madrid Fusion’ event honored him as one of the “Founders of New American Cuisine” alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme and Mark Miller. He is the only Floridian selected by the James Beard Foundation for the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” list. Van Aken has published five cookbooks and one memoir: Feast of Sunlight, The Exotic Fruit Book, Norman’s New World Cuisine, New World Kitchen and My Key West Kitchen (with Justin Van Aken), and No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken. His next book, Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen (with Janet Van Aken) is due to be published in September, 2017. His radio show, “A Word on Food,” airs on NPR. He appeared on CNN’s “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain and on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“Before the celebrity chef craze and before the start of Food Network, Norman Van Aken was starting a revolution. He was doing something unheard of at the time, taking local ethnic flavors, merging them together at restaurants where he worked.” –Smithsonian Magazine

Walter Staib
Walter Staib


Walter Staib of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a third-generation restaurateur with more than four decades of culinary experience. Staib is an author, Emmy Award winning television host, James Beard-nominated chef and culinary historian. He has authored five books and currently hosts a two-time Emmy award-winning PBS original show, “A Taste of History.” He began his career in Europe in the 1960s, as an apprentice in Germany, receiving formal training in many of Europe’s finest hotels, restaurants and resorts in Germany and Switzerland. He came to America in 1969 to work for The Mid-America Club in Chicago. His career has taken him throughout the world, working for Hyatt Regency in the U.S.; Hotel Quatro Rodas in São Paulo, Brazil; Dunfey Hotels (later OMNI Hotels); and Davre’s, owned by ARA Leisure Services, Inc., before creating Concepts By Staib, Ltd. in 1989. As founder and president of Concepts By Staib, Ltd., a global restaurant management and hospitality consulting firm, Staib has opened more than 650 restaurants worldwide. He is currently the driving force behind Philadelphia’s City Tavern, a faithful recreation of an original 18th century tavern and is Concepts By Staib, Ltd.’s flagship operation. He is a member of ACF Philadelphia Chapter.

Jeremiah Tower
Jeremiah Tower


Jeremiah Tower was born in the United States, educated in Australia, England, France and the United States, and is now an acclaimed authority on food and restaurant hospitality.

He began his culinary career in 1972–1978 as co-owner and executive chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. After the Balboa Café in Francisco, the Santa Fe Bar & Grill in Berkeley, and Ventana in Big Sur from 1978–1984, Jeremiah opened and owned several other successful and highly acclaimed restaurants in San Francisco (Stars, Stars Café, Speedo 690), Hong Kong (The Peak Café), Singapore (Stars) and Seattle (Stars). Jeremiah sold the Stars restaurants to an Asian group in 1998.

Jeremiah has written several cookbooks, starting in 1980 as assistant and sometimes co-author with Richard Olney of the Time Life Books’ thirty volumes of The Good Cook. In 1986 he published the very successful and James Beard Foundation winner Jeremiah Tower’s New American Classics (Harper & Row). In 1995 he contributed to The Artist’s Table for the National Gallery of Art. His cookbook, Jeremiah Tower Cooks, was published by Stewart Tabori & Chang in the fall of 2002 and received national press as well as “best cookbook of the year” from Australian Vogue Entertaining. California Dish, a book on the history of the American dining revolution that started in California, was released by Simon & Schuster in 2004 and was warded one of “ten best culinary memoirs” in 2013. America’s Best Chefs with Jeremiah Tower, the companion book for Tower’s 26 shows on PBS, was released by John Wiley & sons in 2003.

Other than the James Beard Foundation’s award for “Outstanding Chef in America” in 1996, other awards include the 1991 induction into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame, the 1993 Regional Best Chef California by the James Beard Foundation, the prestigious James Beard Foundation.

Recent activities include filming a full-length documentary on me by the ZPZ and Anthony Bourdain team for CNN to debut at Tribeca and Toronto film festivals spring 2015; Working on two books for New York publishers; An interview in Mexico with Associated Press; Guest of honor at the Imbibe and Inspire conference in Chicago, September 2014; Speaker at this year’s MAD with chef and owner René Redzepi of the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen; Teaching at the Culinary Arts at Francis Tuttle Technology Center; And the re-opening of the SoFAB museum in New Orleans in late September, 2014; and successful 6-month turn-around of dining at New York’s Tavern on the Green as executive chef in 2014–2015.

Rick Moonen
Rick Moonen


Chef and cookbook author Rick Moonen has been the country’s leading advocate for the sustainable seafood movement for the past 25 years, bringing national awareness to this subject dear to his heart. His flagship restaurant, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood in Las Vegas, showcases his commitment to sustainability without foregoing culinary creativity and innovation, and has been critically acclaimed by the press. He raised thousands of dollars and national awareness in 2010 for Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas when he competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. In May 2011, Monterey Bay Aquarium honored him as their Chef of the Year for his tireless efforts towards sustainability. In 2013, USA Today named him one of Earth’s Power Players as one of five leaders helping the health of our planet and he was awarded the American Culinary Federation Humanitarian Award. Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room was also acclaimed Best New Restaurant by Desert Companion magazine that year. In 2014, he was appointed one of the top twenty leading culinarians in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and was honored as one of the prestigious Vegas Dozen by Saks Fifth Avenue, Greenspun Media Group, VEGAS Magazine and Keep Memory Alive. He’s been featured on CNN, TODAY, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show and Dan Rather Reports.

Alan Wong
Alan Wong
Photo by David Murphey


Alan Wong has made a name for himself internationally with his marriage of different ethnic cooking styles with the finest island-grown ingredients, creating local dishes with a contemporary twist. The James Beard Award winner for Best Chef - Northwest 1996, Wong was a founding member of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine Chefs. Wong was one of 10 U.S. chefs nominated by the Wedgewood Awards for the title of World Master of Culinary Arts in the same year that Alan Wong’s Restaurant was inducted in the Nation’s Restaurant News’ Hall of Fame. Bon Appetit magazine has recognized Chef Wong among its culinary legends as the “Master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine,” and Alan Wong’s Restaurant has been ranked by Gourmet magazine twice as the only Honolulu restaurant rated in the top ten among America’s Best Fifty Restaurants.

Chef Wong is the author of New Wave Luau and The Blue Tomato, and ten-time winner of the Hale “Aina and Ilima Awards in Hawaii, for “Restaurant of the Year” and “Best Restaurant,” respectively. Chef Wong is also the Chef/Owner of Alan Wong’s Restaurant and The Pineapple Room in Honolulu, as well as license-operations with the Grand Wailea Resort for Alan Wong’s Amasia on Maui and Watabe Wedding Company for the Honu Kai Lani Reception Facility on Oahu in Ko’olina.

Cat Cora
Photo by David Carlson


Cora is passionate about her profession and her career highlights are numerous. She is the owner of four restaurants, including Kouzzina by Cat Cora, at Disney World’s Boardwalk Resort in Orlando. She has published three cookbooks, and is a contributing editor to O, the Oprah Magazine. She has made numerous television appearances and is a co-host of Bravo’s new show, “Around the World in 80 Plates,” which premiered May 9. She made television history on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” as the first and only female Iron Chef in 2005.

Cora is president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, a not-for-profit organization that gathers the culinary community together to raise funds and provide resources for emergency educational and hunger-related causes. In 2010, she joined the Chefs Move to Schools campaign that seeks to provide nutritional guidance and education to schools.


Charlie Palmer


Patrick O’Connell


Charlie Trotter


James Andrew Beard (accepted by Chef Norman Van Aken on behalf of James Beard and the James Beard Foundation)

Thomas Keller