2023 American Academy of Chefs Award Recipients
AAC Chair’s Medal
Each year, the Chair’s Medal is bestowed upon an Academy Fellow who has demonstrated exemplary dedication and made outstanding contributions to the culinary profession. This individual has also maintained the highest standard of ideals of the AAC and has significantly and positively worked to ensure excellence among future culinarians.
Joe G. Aiello, CEC, AAC, is a member of the American Culinary Federation since 1977 and an Academy Fellow since 1987. He has held numerous Board and Committee positions, including ACF National Treasurer and ACF Bylaws Committee Chair and AAC Central Region Director. Chef Aiello currently serves as AAC Vice Chair and is the American Academy of Chef Chair elect. He received the ACF Presidential Medallion in 2017 and the AAC Service Pin award in 2011. For the past twenty years, Chef Aiello has owned and operated Apropo Catering, a highly successful multi-faceted food service management and special events company.
Lawrence A. Conti, CEC, AAC, HOF, Chair’s Achievement Award
This award is given to a Fellow of the Academy who is not only dedicated to the American Academy of Chefs but also to the culinary profession. This individual must be an ACF member for a minimum of 35 years and be actively in the AAC and ACF, making the advancement of both organizations a personal priority. The person selected for this award will have achieved success in both business and culinary arts, and must have the respect of the AAC Fellows at large.
John A. Minniti, CCE, AAC, HOF, HBOT, is currently retired. He has been a mentor to culinarians and professional chefs throughout his distinguished career as a chef and educator. Chef Minniti spent thirty-five years working as the Culinary Arts Coordinator at Cinnaminson High School. He became chef/owner of Bàcio Italian Cuisine in Cinnaminson until he retired in 2007. Chef Minniti has been an active member of the American Culinary Federation for over forty years. He was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 1998 and the Hall of Fame in 2009. Chef Minniti served as the Academy’s Vice Chair from 1999–2003 and Chair from 2003-2007 and has served on multiple committees. He is the recipient of the President’s Medallion 2007 and 2015 and the American Academy of Chefs Chair’s Medal 2009.
Joseph Amendola Award
The Joseph Amendola Award is presented to a pastry chef or master baker. The recipient has devoted his or her career to the profession and to the mentoring of young individuals who will be future pastry chefs.
Carlton W. Brooks, CEPC, CCE, AAC, has been a contributing member of the foodservice industry for over 50 years. He graduated from Johnson and Wales University with an A.S. degree in Culinary Arts. Chef Brooks has been an active member of the American Culinary Federation since 1982 and was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 2015. Chef Brooks served on the ACF National Board as the Western Region Vice President 2015–2019, as well as various ACF Committees and Chapter positions. He is the recipient of the President’s Medallion 2013 and 2018, Chapter Chef Educator of the Year 2015, American Academy of Chefs Service Award Pin 2022 and the Western Region Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award 2023.
Lt. General John D. McLaughlin Award
The Lt. General John D. McLaughlin Award is presented each year to an individual of high honor, distinction and involvement in the culinary field. This award has been established in the memory of Lt. General John D. McLaughlin, who was instrumental in bringing professional recognition to the American executive chef.
Mark D. Veomett, CEC, AAC, is retired from the military after a thirty year U.S. Air Force career. Along the way he earned 2 Associate of Science degrees and taught both Air Force food service and the joint-service Advanced Culinary Skills Course. He provided USACAT (United States Army Culinary Arts Team) key logistical support for train-ups and competitions including the 2002 Culinary World Cup. He has been a member of the American Culinary Federation since 1998 and was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 2010. Chef Veomett has been an active ACF Certification Practical Exam Evaluator since 2013 and is a member of the National Capital Chefs Association Chapter.
Chef Good Taste Award
The Chef Good Taste Award is designated for culinarians who are actively involved in furthering the chef’s greatest achievement, “taste,” and upholding the traditions of the classical cuisine.
John Folse, CEC, AAC, is still adding ingredients to the corporate gumbo he calls Chef John Folse & Company, which is as diverse as the Louisiana landscape, and he would not want it any other way. He has been an active American Culinary Federation member since 1988. Chef Folse served as the organizations National President from 1994–1995. Chef Folse was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 1988 and inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2017. He serves as a member of the American Academy of Chefs Honorary Board of Trustees since 2008. Chef Folse is the recipient of the ACF Chef of the Year 1990, AAC Chair’s Medal 1996, Achievement of Excellence Award 1996, Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award 2019 and Humanitarian Award 2020. Chef Folse is an active member in multiple culinary organizations and has received numerous awards throughout his career.
Sharing Culinary Traditions Award
One Academy Fellow is selected each year to receive the Sharing Culinary Traditions Award. This individual has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the education of future culinarians, thereby perpetuating the mission statement of our prestigious honor society and our profession.
Dorothy Johnston, CEC, CCE, AAC, recently retired after a career as Chef/owner and Culinary Educator. Chef Johnston holds a Master of Science in Ed from the State University at Buffalo and is a Certified Specialist in Wine and Certified Sommelier. Chef Johnston served on the Hospitality faculty at SUNY Erie Community College. She served as Department Chair during her time there and is now serving as an Adjunct Instructor. She has been an active member of the American Culinary Federation for over thirty years and was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 2008. She was a member of the ACFEF Accrediting Commission 2019–2022. Chef Johnston is an active member of ACF of Greater Buffalo New York. She is the recipient of the Buffalo Chapter Chef of the Year 2007 and the President’s Medallion 2016.