ACF Young Chefs of the Month Recipients

Charlett Thelin

September/October 2018 - What's your favorite dish, and why?

Charlett Thelin, Chicago, Ill., ACF National Member

"My favorite dish is steak, eggs, and potato hash. Who says steak is only for a fancy dinner? There is nothing better than waking up and starting your day with the sizzling sound of a hot saute pan searing your steak breakfast. Especially when you pair it with a couple of over easy eggs and some potato hash. The runny egg yolks are the perfect combination with such a hearty breakfast."

Joseph Paro

August 2018 - Contributing to your community and the culinary industry

Joseph Paro, Sellersburg, Ind., ACF Kentucky Chapter

"Community service is everything to me, that’s why I chose the field that I did. My entire life, I’ve wanted a way to give back to the people and community that have given so much to me, so that’s why I became a chef and an educator. Through teaching, I have had the opportunity to give back to my community by training the future of the culinary industry. Over the time that my students spend with me, I not only get to teach them how to cook, I also get to teach them my personal philosophy on food and how to conduct themselves in order to be productive members of society. When their time in my class has come to a close, I get to send them out in to the community so that they can make their own impacts and find their own ways to give back."

Daniel Hess

June/July 2018 - Using your leadership skills

Elijah Pulley, Peoria Heights, Ill., ACF Heart of Illinois Professional Chefs Association

My leadership qualities include teamwork, communication and organization. I use these qualities in the kitchen at work every day. As a lead on a line, teamwork is an essential skill. You have to be able to move in sync with the two other guys next to you and keep the line working with the same flow throughout the whole service. This is where communication comes into play, in the heat of a service rush, reading off orders as they come in and deciding fire times is a huge role because you are setting the pace for the whole service. But I think organization is the most crucial part. A good leader has an organized, clean kitchen and is able to delegate and do multiple tasks at one time whether that be in prep or hopping in the dish pit to catch it back up. A leader in a kitchen is a person that has knowledge of each position and is able to execute each station on the line.

Daniel Hess

May 2018 - Prepping for a practical exam or culinary competition

Daniel Hess, Salisbury Mills, N.Y., ACF Chefs and Cooks of the Catskill Mountains

I continuously practice until competition day, striving to be the best I can be. I do not practice until it is prefect because I know there is always something else I could have done better. I triple check all my mise en place and equipment, and set up at least an hour before my window opens, that way I can go over my steps and what I need to do to be successful. Competition is not for everyone, but I take pride in it and hope every chef does as well.

Valerie Barger

April 2018 - Culinary Passion

Valeria Barger, Havertown, Pennsylvania, ACF Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chefs Association

Redundantly, my culinary passion is the food. I love the different ingredients that I’m surrounded with, both edible and not. The kitchen is such an incredible place, it’s a place where I can let everything else go and work with what matters most- the food. There’s always something new to learn with the food - from how to make a cauliflower crust, how to make aspic, how to perfectly poach a lobster tail, and everything in-between. From buffets to banquets to the line, there’s always something to experience and learn from everyday. I choose this field because it fills me. Having the ability day in and day out to cook incredible food, serve it, and interact with people about food is a dream come true. In many ways, food brings people together, and I’m grateful everyday that I get to play a small part in these events.

Lydia Ross

March 2018 - Culinary Achievements

Lydia Ross, CEC, Bethesda, Maryland

My biggest culinary accomplishment to date is being able to take all of the knowledge and skills my mentors have instilled in me and start passing them onto those around me. Through competitions and certifications, I push myself to continue growing; I have been able to help multiple coworkers start on their own paths of competitions and certifications. I love being successful but more so helping others be successful. It’s a much bigger achievement if I can spread my passion for cooking with my colleagues and succeed together. Learning is an everyday thing that will never end as long as you continue to push forward.

Richard Robinson

February 2018 - Ingredients

Richard Robinson, Woodstock, Georgia, ACF Atlanta Chefs Association, Inc

Favorite ingredient: Apples

I love apples and the idea of giving them whatever flavor you choose. I like to make apple butter and pair it with pork. Brining, smoking, and butter-braising the pork with fresh herbs and serving it with apples in any form make the most beautiful of combinations.

Sarah Dilling

January 2018 - Mentorship

Sarah Dilling, Achille, Oklahoma, Texas Chefs Association

Tell us about the qualities you admire in your mentor and how he/she has helped you.

Chef Joanna Bryant was the first person that I met when I started my culinary education at Grayson College. Not only has she trained me so that I can ever improve in the kitchen, but she helped create the path for me to enter college early. I was home schooled on a farm in Oklahoma and graduated high school at 15. When I was fourteen, she worked with the College Board to allow younger students to enter the program. Now thanks to her, I will have a Culinary AAS and Hospitality Management AAS degree at the age of eighteen. I found out that Chef had nominated me for the President’s Award at Grayson College, which is rarely given. I won the President’s Award. I feel thankful to Chef Bryant for considering me for the award and giving me the opportunity to learn and study under her. She has also supplied multiple chances to go outside our program and learn in the industry. I have worked with her helping many non-profits such as the Child and Family Guidance Center of Texoma, Women Rock Inc. for breast cancer, Reba McIntyre’s Ranch House, and the Texoma Health Foundation. I have also worked with Chef Bryant and Chef Robert Irvine at the American Airline’s SkyBall benefiting many veterans’ organizations. Thanks to her hard work, I have competed in the Baron H. Knowledge Bowl in Hawaii and Chicago earning an ACF silver medal in Chicago. Now that I am finishing up my time under Chef Bryant, I am representing the State of Texas in the student team competition in Wisconsin in February. Chef Bryant has taught me what it means to be a mentor, which I plan on passing on to others throughout my career and life.