The Culinary Insider - August 1, 2011 (Vol. IX, Issue 17)

ACF National Convention in the Lone Star State a Success

Banquet room used for general 
session at 2011 ACF National Convention

Attendees of the 2011 ACF National Convention, hosted by the Texas Chefs Association, found the saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” to be true during this year’s national event in Dallas, July 22–26. ACF was proud to offer more hands-on workshops, new educational sessions and unique competitions for the more than 1,200 attendees to enjoy.

The trade show featured more than 100 exhibitors, and numerous competitions, including USDA’s Recipes for Healthy Kids national cook-off. At this year’s General Session, Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president, delivered his annual address, plus chefs Kevan Vetter and Brad Barnes, CMC, CCA, AAC, hosted an entertaining cooking demonstration on flavor layering. The last half of General Session concluded Monday and featured a keynote address by Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives, who encouraged chefs to join the fight against childhood obesity through community involvement and by volunteering with the Chefs Move to Schools program. Four hundred guests attended the American Academy of Chefs Dinner, which recognized the Academy’s annual award winners and inductees.

The convention culminated with the president’s grand ball, where the much anticipated awards were announced, the gavel was passed to the 2011–2013 board of directors, and artist Michael Israel performed to attendees’ amazement. His five paintings were auctioned off, and a percentage of the proceeds benefited ACF’s Chef & Child Foundation. It was an incredible night.

A sincere thank-you to our sponsors, exhibitors and the Texas Chefs Association, especially Sharon Van Meter, whose support was instrumental to our success. Congratulations to all the competition winners and award recipients and honorees for their outstanding contributions and for a job well done.

Experience the Power of Connection with our day-by-day diary, video clips and photos, which will soon be posted on our Flickr page. Below are just some of the award winners. You can view all the award winners and honorees on the ACF website.

U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions: Todd Kelly, executive chef/director of food and beverage, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, Cincinnati; ACF Greater Cincinnati Chapter

Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Splenda®: Alex Hwang, assistant pastry chef, Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta; ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter Inc.

Chef Educator of the Year: Dina Altieri, CEC, CCE, chef-instructor, Kendall College, Chicago; ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians Inc.

Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.: Aaron Guajardo III, graduate, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill.; ACF Louis Joliet Chapter

Student Team Championship, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber, Inc.: ACF Louis Joliet Chapter, students at Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill.: David Basile, Robert Belanski, Aaron Guajardo III, Laura Korte and Michael Shannon, CC; coached by Kyle Richardson, CCE, CEC, CHE, ACE, AAC

Chef Professionalism Award, sponsored by Minor’s®: Russell Scott, CMC, WGMC, executive chef, Isleworth Golf & Country Club, Windermere, Fla.; ACF Central Florida Chapter

Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award: John Zehnder, CEC, AAC, executive chef/food & beverage director, Zehnder’s Restaurant, Frankenmuth, Mich.; ACF Flint/Saginaw Valley Chapter

Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers: Kendall College, Chicago, members of ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians Inc.: Gabriele Ausraite, Robert Baki, Jacob Clara, Paige Rogers and Jacqueline Wallner; coached by Dina Altieri, CEC, CCE

ACF Chef Coats - $34.95

American Culinary Federation Purchase an officially licensed ACF Chef Coat by Happy Chef to display your membership with pride. Available in Black or Classic White, this full-length, double-breasted coat features rounded cuffs, bronze piping & buttons, as well as a prominently embroidered ACF logo.

Ingredient of the Month: Ginger

Ginger Chai bar

Since ancient times, ginger has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes. In China, for example, ginger has been used to aid digestion and to treat stomach upset, diarrhea and nausea for more than 2,000 years. With a peppery and slightly sweet flavor and a spicy, pungent aroma, ginger has been a mainstay in Asian and Indian cooking for centuries. It is an extremely versatile ingredient and is commonly paired with chiles, coconut, garlic, lime and scallions to accompany fish and seafood, meat, poultry and vegetables. Read more and learn how to make Ginger Chai Bars in August’s Ingredient of the Month, presented by ACFEF Chef & Child Foundation and Clemson University.

ACF Pastry Chefs to Compete on “Top Chef: Just Desserts” Season 2

Megan Ketover
Orlando Santos

Congratulations to Megan Ketover, CEPC, and Orlando Santos, CEPC, for being selected as two of the 14 contestants to appear on “Top Chef: Just Desserts” season 2. The show, hosted by Gail Simmons and judged by Johnny Iuzzini and others, presents some of the best pastry chefs in the nation with weekly challenges to see who will be named top pastry chef and take home $100,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine and a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Cayman Cookout. Tune in August 24, at 10 p.m., for the premier.

Summer Special on Leadership Training for Chefs is excited to announce a special summer rate of $119 for its 12-hour Supervisor Leadership Course approved by ACF. That’s 50% off if purchased separately. Training is 100% online making it accessible anytime, anywhere. You will learn the keys on how to build, lead and unify your staff as well as how to conquer destructive personalities and behavior in the kitchen. Maximize your leadership potential and satisfy your supervisory training requirements at

TV Casting Calls for Culinarians

Food Network New Series for Executive Chefs: The Food Network is currently seeking talented, experienced chefs for a new competition series. Showcase your culinary skills for a chance to be hired as an executive chef in a high-end restaurant. Apply

Television New Weight Loss TV Series: If you are at least 75 pounds overweight and work in the food industry, this docu-series from the producers of “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Celebrity Fit Club” wants to help you become a healthier person. Participants will be provided with trainers, nutritionists and medical professionals for 17 weeks to get their health and lives on track. Apply

ChoppedChopped:” The Food Network is currently casting dynamic, outgoing, experienced professional chefs who want to test their culinary skills against those of their peers on the series “Chopped.” The winner receives $10,000. Apply

Cupcake WarsCupcake Wars:” If you think you and your cupcakes have what it takes to compete against the best bakers in the country, then the Food Network wants to hear from you. The winner receives $10,000 and their cupcakes will be featured at a Hollywood event. Apply

Food Network StarFood Network Star:” Do you think you have what it takes to be a TV star and host your own show? If you have cooking know-how, personality that shines and teaching skills, you could be the next Guy Fieri or Aarti Sequeira. Apply

Restaurant ImpossibleRestaurant: Impossible:” Empty tables? Dishes tired? Front of the house upside-down? Let Robert Irvine’s next mission be your restaurant’s rescue. Apply

Restaurant Impossible Tell Guy Where to Go: Do you have a favorite diner, drive-in or dive that Guy Fieri should visit? Email your suggestions to with your contact information.