The American Academy of Chefs 2019 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.

Linda S. Musch, CCE®, AAC®

Linda S. Musch

Linda S. Musch, CCE, AAC, is a retired culinary arts instructor and continues educating the Rhode Island Restaurant Community as a food safety trainer and consultant working very closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health. She dedicates her time to volunteering in student-related activities, most notably SkillsUSA. Musch is an active member of ACF Rhode Island Chapter and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs since 2003. She currently serves on the Academy board as Northeast Regional Director and is active as an ACFEF accreditation site evaluator. She has received numerous awards including ACF Presidents Medallion in 1997 and 2009, ACF Cutting Edge Award in 2007, and ACF Northeast Regional Chef Educator in 2017.

Past Winners


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.

William J. Tillinghast, MBA, CEC®, AAC®

William J. Tillinghast

William J. Tillinghast, MBA, CEC, AAC, is academic culinary director of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia. He has more than 25 years of experience working in restaurants, country clubs, university dining and hotels. He is an active member of ACF Philadelphia Chapter and has been a member of the American Academy of Chefs since 2002. He currently serves as chair of the ACF bylaws committee and previously held several national positions, including ACF Vice President for the Northeast Region. Tillinghast is the recipient of the AAC Sharing Culinary Traditions Award in 2006 and ACF President’s Medallion in 2017. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Past Winners


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.

Garry W. Waldie, CEC®, CEPC®, CCE®, AAC®

Garry W. Waldie

Garry W. Waldie, CEC, CEPC, CCE, AAC, is a retired educator and spent many years as executive chef for a private estate prior to that. Waldie is an active member of ACF Chef’s Association of Arizona, Inc. He was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 1999, and into the Honorary Order of The Golden Toque in 2017. Waldie has earned numerous awards, including the AAC Sharing Traditions Award in 2005, AAC Service Pin in 2014, and two ACF Presidential Medals, 2008 and 2014. He served as the AAC Western regional director from 2006 to 2015, and currently serves on the ACFEF culinary knowledge bowl task force and the ACF certification commission written exam subcommittee.

Past Winners


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.

Jeffrey P. Lein

Jeffrey P. Lein

Jeffrey P. Lein serves in the U.S. Army as chief warrant officer in the Sustainment Command, responsible for overseeing over 170 Army dining facilities across the globe. He is certified by the National Ice Carving Association as a professional ice carver and ice carving educator. Lein is an active competitor, both nationally and internationally, and has earned several medals. He was the Office in Charge of the Army’s Hawaii Culinary Team, winning first place Installation of the Year and representing the Army at the ACF National Convention from 2015-2017.

Past Winners


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.

Deborah A. Bando-Duit, CEC®, AAC®

Deborah A. Bando-Duit

Deborah A. Bando-Duit, CEC, AAC, is proprietor/executive chef of Bando’s in Beaumont, Texas, a 35-year-old company. She is an active member of the Texas Chef Association and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs since 2004. She has held several ACF committee positions and currently serves on the Academy board as Public Relations Marketing Chair. She is the recipient of the ACF Presidential Medallion in 2006 and 2014, ACF Cutting Edge Award in 2012, and American Academy of Chefs: Appreciation Award in 2006.

Past Winners


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.

Costa N. Magoulas, CEC®, CCE®, CCA®, AAC®

Costa N. Magoulas

Costa N. Magoulas, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, is dean of Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is an active member of ACF Central Florida Chapter and has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs since 2005. He currently serves as chair on the ACFEF Knowledge Bowl Taskforce. Magoulas is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his dedication to culinary education, including ACF Chef Educator of the Year in 2018 and ACF President’s Medallion in 2012.

Past Winners


Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award was introduced to raise funds for the American Academy of Chefs scholarship funds, and to recognize an Academy Fellow who has shown outstanding dedication to our profession. This individual is regarded as an industry trendsetter and possesses a commitment to excellence, providing leadership, motivation, and inspiration to colleagues and the youth of the culinary industry.

George A. O’Palenick, CEC®, CCE®, AAC®, HOF

George A. O’Palenick

ACF Rhode Island Chapter

Past Recipients | Request a Nomination Packet


Service Award Pin

The AAC Service Award Pin is presented to Academy Fellows who demonstrate active participation, service and dedication to the AAC, ACF and culinary profession. An AAC Fellow must meet all criteria as defined in the application form in order to be eligible to receive the award. To request an application, please contact the Academy office at ACF’s national headquarters at (800) 624-9458. More