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ACF National Convention: Orlando


Gale Gand
Chef Gale Gand is a nationally acclaimed pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, television personality, teacher, entrepreneur, and mother. Chef Gand has been recognized as Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year by The James Beard Foundation and by Bon Appetite magazine, as well as receiving a Beard award for best service for Tru. She has been inducted into the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame and was a 2017 recipient of the Women Driving Excellence award.

For 8 years, Gale hosted the Food Network series “Sweet Dreams,” the first nationally televised all-dessert show anywhere. Gale has made appearances on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Oprah,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” “Baking With Julia” (Child), ”Good Morning America,” “The Rachael Ray Show” and “The Today Show.” She competed on “Iron Chef America” and has been featured as a celebrity judge on “Food Network Challenge,” “Last Cake Standing,” "Top Chef" and “Top Chef Just Desserts.”

Gale is the founding pastry chef and partner of the beloved Chicago restaurant Tru, opened with long-time culinary partner Chef Rick Tramonto and restaurateur Rich Melman in 1999. Tru quickly became a sensation among Chicago’s fine dining community and has earned ecstatic praise from reviewers, receiving accolades from the James Beard Foundation; the Michelin (2 stars), Mobil and AAA guides; Relais Gourmand; Wine Spectator magazine; and was named Chicago’s Best Restaurant by Chicago Magazine. Prior to opening Tru, Gand and Tramonto earned increasing acclaim at their Chicago area restaurants Trio and Brasserie T, and at Stapleford Park, an historic country house hotel near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, where in 1991 Tramonto and Gand became the first American chefs to earn a Michelin Red M. She also did a 2 year pop-up in 2014 called Spritzburger in Chicago with The Hearty Boys, also of Food Network fame.

Gale is a prolific cookbook author with eight titles to her credit, including her most recent “Gale Gand’s Lunch!,” released in April 2014. Earlier titles (written with Rick Tramonto) include: American Brasserie (1997); Butter Sugar Flour Eggs (1999); and Tru: A Cookbook from the Legendary Chicago Restaurant (2004). On her own Gand authored Just a Bite (2001); Short and Sweet (2004); Chocolate and Vanilla (2006) and Gale Gand’s Brunch (2009), in it’s fifth printing.

Gale also produces her own artisan root beer, “Gale’s Root Beer,” which is available nationally.
Edward Lee
Chef Edward Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY and the culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland and Penn Quarter, DC. He is also the Executive Chef of Salt Restaurant in Antigua.

He has received multiple finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards BestChef: Southeast. He appears frequently in print and television. He has been nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS. Most recently, he has hosted and co-produced a feature documentary called Fermented.
Lee is the author of Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan Books, May 2013) and of Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine (Artisan Books, April 2018).

His signature blend with Jefferson’s Reserve called Chef’s Collaboration Blend is a luxury small batch bourbon he developed with Trey Zoeller.
Chef Lee also runs the non-profit The LEE Initiative which promotes equality and diversity within the restaurant community.
For more information about Chef Edward Lee, please visit:
Twitter: @chefedwardlee
Instagram: @chefedwardlee
Facebook: Chef Edward Lee
Ivan Orkin
Ivan’s journey began with a dishwashing job at a sushi bar when he was 15. He discovered a culture and cuisine that would shape the rest of his life. Upon graduation high school, Ivan decided to major
in Japanese language and literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After graduating, Ivan immediately moved to Japan to teach English and he quickly cemented his love of everything
He returned to the US in 1990 and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, and began his culinary training.
Upon graduation from the CIA, and stints at Mesa Grill, Lutece, and Restaurant Associates, Ivan returned to Tokyo to live in the country that he fell in love with. He had still never given thought to
combining his love for cooking and Japan, but that was soon to change. Ivan was anxious to start a food-related business in Japan but was unsure of which direction to take.
He thought about opening a cooking school, a sandwich shop, even a pizzeria. It was his wife’s suggestion that he open a ramen shop.
This move seemed destined for failure in a country where ramen enjoys a cult-like status. Incredibly, Ivan not only succeeded, but became one of the top ramen shops in Tokyo, an unheard of
accomplishment for a foreigner. In 2010 a second shop, Ivan Ramen Plus, was opened. In 2012, Ivan returned to NY with the hopes of opening a business back home, while continuing to operate his
two shops in Tokyo. In the meantime his cookbook “Ivan Ramen” was published. His first venture in the US, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, opened at the Gotham West Market on 600 11th
Avenue in November of 2013 to huge crowds and critical acclaim.
Soon after, his US flagship, Ivan Ramen opened at 25 Clinton Street on New York’s Lower East side.
Both restaurants continue to enjoy critical acclaim and have been mentioned in countless magazines,
Eduardo Garcia
An avid outdoorsman with an unmatched zest for life, chef Eduardo Garcia is a testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
A classically trained chef who found his passion for cooking at an early age, Eduardo cut his teeth in the industry at just 15 years old; husting over hot pans, flipping burgers and throwing pizzas. After working in the fast paced kitchens of Seattle and attending culinary school, Eduardo took his love for cooking to the high seas; working as a private chef on luxury yachts and more importantly, on the hunt for exceptional food experiences that can only be found by traveling the world.
It was during this pivotal time that Eduardo started inviting others to join him in the kitchen to collaborate and discover the joy of creating memorable food and experiences therein. The watershed moment gave birth to Eduardo’s personal mantra; a meal is more than just what we eat, but an integral part of what builds culture and brings people together.
Inspired by these experiences, Eduardo returned to Montana and founded Montana Mex; creating delicious, clean label, “happy food”, driven by his culinary journey and designed to help people eat well and stay smiling.
Eduardo’s path, however, took a drastic turn in 2011 while elk-hunting in the Montana backcountry. Having come across a bear carcass, Eduardo received a catastrophic electrical shock from a 2400-volt power line hidden beneath the animal, knocking him unconscious and changing his life forever. Severely burned and badly injured, Eduardo walked three miles to the nearest road and found himself in a true fight for his life. Months of intensive care, the amputation of half of his left arm, removal of several ribs and even a cancer diagnosis could not keep Eduardo down. Nowadays, Eduardo can be found living his best life outdoors; hunting, fishing, cooking, and delivering motivational speeches around the country as a shining example of what can be accomplished with a refuse-to-quit attitude and uncompromised determination.
Duff Goldman
Duff Goldman is a chef, artist, entrepreneur and TV personality. Duff’s first major foray into television was on the hit Food Network show Ace of Cakes, which took place in his famed Baltimore bakery, Charm City Cakes. The show ran for ten seasons, achieving the rare feat of airing over 100 episodes. Duff is currently starring in several new shows on Food Network, including Cake Masters and the Baking Championship series.
Duff recently completed his second book, Duff Bakes, a follow up to the New York Times bestseller, Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes.
Duff opened his first business, Charm City Cakes, in Baltimore, Maryland in 2002. Building on the success of that venture, he opened Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles in 2012. Inspired by his passion for facilitating creativity in others, Duff soon thereafter founded and developed Duff’s Cakemix, a DIY cake and cupcake decorating studio, also located in Los Angeles.
Through partnerships with Tylina Foods (Gartner Studios), Blue Bunny, JAKKS Pacific, Godiva and others, Duff launched a successful line of branded products, including cake mix, ice cream, and baking and decorating supplies. Duff-branded products can be found in Walmart, Target, Michaels and most major grocery chains nationwide.
Duff can be seen making appearances at food festivals, celebrations, and other major events around the country, including New York City Wine & Food Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBE), Feast Portland, the International Home + Housewares Show, and Life is Beautiful, among many others.
Rico Torres
Rico Torres is chef and co-owner at Mixtli, which is the natural evolution serving his higher purpose- to embrace his heritage and to create. Torres and Galicia have recently been awarded 2017's Food and Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs" presented to only 12 chefs in the country, for their unique concept with Mixtli. Torres has also been featured in Texas Monthly, USA Today, Travel Channel, and more.

Torrws was bron in El Paso, Texas, in 1978. Early on, he was immersed in heritage of Zacatecas and greater Mexico, both in travel and through daily life. Even as a child Torres knew immediately that the kitchen held his heart.

In October 2003, Torres started a small catering service called Rico Caters. The company quickly became known for its innovative cuisine and exceptional customer service. Torres also staged and cooked in different kitchens around the country through the years.
In 2013, Torres opened Mixtli with Chef Diego Galicia and has continued to dedicate himself to his craft. Each time a new menu concept is developed for Mixtli, Torres researches for countless hours at The University of Texas at San Antonio's library, where he has a special partnership and is able to review historic Mexican cookbooks and recipes for inspiration.

Torres currently resides in San Antonio.
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Diego Galicia
Mixtli opened in 2013 to rave reviews. Diego Galicia and his chef
partner and co-owner, Rico Torres, have been regularly recognized and
praised by critics as leaders in the culinary community in San Antonio.
Mixtli is the natural evolution to serve their next higher purpose—to reembrace their heritage and to create. In April 2017 the pair was
recognized as Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs,” and they
have also been featured in Texas Monthly, USA Today, Travel Channel,
and more. Born in Toluca, Mexico, in 1984, Galicia moved to San Antonio in 2002. He studied psychology at The University of Texas at San Antonio for a few years before switching to culinary and graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio (CIA).
While a student at the CIA, Galicia worked with the best of the city,
including Chef John Besh’s restaurant Lüke, and on weekday mornings
at Patty Lou's at the Olmos Pharmacy. Following his time at the CIA,
Galicia had the opportunity to work in his native Mexico at Azul
Condesa, which is owned by renowned Chef Ricardo Muñoz. Galicia
diversified his culinary experience by working at Michelin-starred
restaurants Atelier Crenn in San Francisco and Moto in Chicago.
Galicia always had the dream of opening his own restaurant. While
cultivating his dreams, he worked at Texas fast food chain Taco Cabana
in order to save funds to open Mixtli. Galicia was instrumental in reinvigorating the restaurant chain’s menu with creativity during his time there.
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Peter Rod
Peter A. Rod is a 35-year veteran of the food and drinks business in Canada. Peter currently is is Program Coordinator and Professor in the Wine Programs Faculty at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College (CFWI).
His extensive career has awarded him many levels of achievement including a certified sommelier since 1991 and WSET Diploma holder since 1998, a Certified Wine Educator with SEW in the USA, a certified Assessor for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and is completing his Masters of Education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
The past 30 years Peter has worked for several prestigious restaurants and hotels that include Relais & Chateaux properties in Ontario and top restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. He had an extensive twelve year career for Mission Hill Family Estate, the largest and most prestigious winery in British Columbia as well as brand ambassador and sales and marketing consultant for 13th Street Winery in Niagara. Peter also ran the Ontario office of an international wine sales agency, Tannin Fine Wines, for five years.
Peter has created the online Canadian Wine course for CFWI as well as focusing on Old and New World Sensory classes for our Viticulture and Wine Business students as well as Food and Wine Dynamics for the Culinary programs.
Here he represented top wineries from Canada, California, Italy, Greece, France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Germany, and Spain. Peter was named fellow of the Ontario Hostelry Institute in 2011 and was awarded top sommelier in western Canada in 1997 and in Ontario in 2006.
Richard Farina
Chef Richard “Richie” Farina started his career as a pizza maker, honing his skills by catering alongside a family friend for two years. His desire to perfect his craft led Chef Farina to enroll in a Bachelor in Culinary Arts at the Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. With Chef Farina’s help, the school won the National College Ice Carving Championship, 3 years in a row. After working in several top restaurants in Boston, Chef Farina sought a new home and a bigger challenge. He found them in Chicago, landing a job with Moto Restaurant in April 2008. In two short years, Chef Farina had worked every station at the molecular gastronomy institution, including front of house roles. In 2009, Chef Farina had his first foray into television, as one of four characters on a nationally syndicated television show for Discovery Network’s Future Food, featuring the whimsical creations of Moto Restaurant. Chef Farina’s work has reached hundreds of national television and print outlets including Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, Bizarre Foods, and many more. In 2012, Moto Restaurant earned a Michelin star, and in 2014, Chef Farina took the helm as Executive Chef. His recipes can still be found in Moto: The Cookbook. Today, Chef Farina still enjoys success on television. When he’s off set, Chef Farina continues to live his passion for cooking as an Event Chef with JUST, Inc., in Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio’s kitchen, or collaborating on exciting projects, including those with Future Food Studio.
Dennis Chan
Dennis Chan grew up in Jacksonville, where his family has owned twelve restaurants in the past seven decades. After attending the University of Florida and the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Dennis found himself working with Ming Tsai, from PBS’ “Simply Ming.” It was the perfect platform for him to apply the classic cooking techniques that he learned in school to the traditional Chinese restaurant format that he grew up with in Florida.Chef Chan opened Blue Bamboo in his hometown of Jacksonville in 2005. In addition to operating Blue Bamboo, Dennis is an adjunct professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and regularly teaches cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, A Chefs Cooking Studio, Publix Aprons, and Whole Foods. Chan’s first cookbook, Hip Asian Comfort Food, was published in 2009.Dennis lives in Jacksonville, Florida and says, “After working around the country, I am so happy to have found my way back home to Jacksonville.”A supporter of many local charitable organizations, Dennis believes that there is a place in everyone’s heart and schedule for worthwhile organizations.
Robert Seltzer
Expertise: Food Service Operations Management, Culinary Arts, Catering and Event Sales & Management, Food Service Distribution, Food Service Supply Chain Management, Food Service Design, Hospitality Marketing, Italian food, wines and coffees. Chef Seltzer joined the Rosen College of Hospitality Management in June of 2016. His responsibilities include the management of the food labs and Rosen campus catering events. Chef Seltzer also teaches the FSS2221 Food Preparation course. His interests include any topic pertaining to food or beverage, sustainability and fighting poverty. Chef Seltzer has over 30 years of experience managing food service operations including: restaurants, convention centers, stadiums and racetracks; food service distribution and importing; culinary education. Chef Seltzer received his M.Ed. from American Intercontinental University and his B.A. in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University.
Nina Curtis
Nina CurtisDirector and Executive Chef Adventist Health, Roseville Café and Culinary Arts---Nina Curtis is the Director and Executive Chef for the Adventist Health, Roseville Campus Café and Culinary Arts department. At the helm of this dynamic culinary center, Chef Curtis is recognized as a leader and trailblazer in the plant-based culinary movement. As the former Executive Chef at The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu, the acclaimed seven-day fitness and wellness boot camp and the Chief Nutrition Officer for the Ranch Daily, a meal subscription service, in Southern California, Chef Curtis keeps her finger on the pulse of the wellness and plant-based lifestyle trends. Chef Curtis has been an avid proponent of a plant-based lifestyle for the past twenty years. Chef Curtis' food and beverage background include working with the Marriot Group, Hilton Hotels, Baxters, Manhattan Beach, the El Caballo, Oakland, Pure Food and Wine in New York and the Springs Restaurant and Wine Bar, Los Angeles. Chef Curtis presents lectures and demonstrations on wellness, nutrition and whole foods cooking all around the world. She has developed wellness training programs, set up kitchen operations and has worked closely in conjunction with culinary master gardeners to develop seasonal and gorgeous garden-to-table recipes that are essential to having a delicious plant-forward culinary experience.An MBA graduate of Pepperdine University, Chef Curtis was also trained at Living Light Culinary Institute, Trinity School of Natural Health, the Natural Gourmet Culinary Institute and she holds a Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies, Cornell.
Frances Gonzalez
Frances Gonzalez, a long-time vegan and wine lover, can still remember the day the day she told her Puerto Rican family she was never eating meat again. But her journey to becoming vegan didn't happen overnight - it's been a lifelong evolution.
During a wine tasting tour in France, her guide mentioned the words "egg whites" and her ears perked up. It was then that she learned many animal products are frequently involved in the winemaking process, making the end product unsuitable for vegans.
When Frances discovered there were vegan wine club options in Europe but none in the USA, the idea for Vegan Wines was born!
Having been routinely frustrated by trying to order vegan wines in restaurants and locate animal-friendly bottles in wine shops, she now seeks to spread awareness and make buying vegan wines easier. Today she travels to wineries to ensure their winemaking methods are completely free from animal products before asking them to partner with Vegan Wines.
Fran Costigan
Fran Costigan, culinary instructor, cookbook author, pastry chef, consultant, and the director of Vegan Pastry at Rouxbe cooking school, is internationally renowned as the authority on vegan desserts. Professionally trained, Fran was a chef in both traditional and vegan pastry kitchens before moving into teaching over 25 years ago. Her unapologetically luscious confections lack nothing — except dairy, eggs, white sugar, and cholesterol. Fran’s vegan desserts are appropriate for everyone who loves dessert, whether or not dietary restrictions are an issue. She developed and leads the 90-day Essential Vegan Desserts Course at Rouxbe, the world’s leading online cooling school, where she mentors international students of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals
Fran’s cookbook, Vegan Chocolate Dessert: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, is available in German, French and Italian editions, and follows the classic, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts.
A native New Yorker, Fran moved to Philadelphia, PA recently, and is enthusiastically visiting Philly’s many renowned plant-forward restaurants. A sought after speaker, you can find Fran sharing her passion across North America and Europe, at schools, conferences, festivals, and corporations such as Google, at resorts, spas and on cruise ships too.
A professional member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Les Dames d’Escoffier, and the Association of Food Journalists, Fran is a proud to serve on the advisory boards of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Foods, Main Street Vegan Academy, and the Vegan Trade Council.
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Jamie Simpson
Amy Emberling
Amy Emberling is a Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, a nationally acclaimed artisan bakery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is one of 10 businesses in Zingerman's Community of Businesses. Amy’s love of great food began in her childhood home of Nova Scotia, where she feasted on lobster and wild blueberry cake. Baking, cooking and dining out have been her passion from a young age. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and her MBA from Columbia University. She then returned to her deepest interests and began to learn to bake and cook at L'Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise, Ritz Hotel in Paris and in numerous Michigan restaurants.Amy joined Zingerman’s Bakehouse in 1992 as a bread baker and in 2000 became a co-managing partner with Frank Carollo. Zingerman’s Bakehouse focuses on using traditional baking methods and full flavored real ingredients. The bakery features breads, pastries and cakes with strong historical and cultural ties. It is most known for its naturally leavened breads and Jewish specialties, excellent customer service and community engagement. The bakery focuses on western European, American and Jewish foods but regularly explores and features other foodways. The bakery also includes BAKE!, a school for home bakers which teaches the craft of baking to thousands of people a year. Amy is dedicated to making traditional, full flavored food, to creating a positive and enriching work environment and to leading a socially responsible business. She is the co-author of the book Zingerman's Bakehouse and regularly teaches about Zingerman's business practices.
George O'Palenick
College/School: Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts Campus: Providence. Chef George O'Palenick joined the faculty of Johnson & Wales in 1980, where he teaches Classical French Cuisine, specializing in Classical Italian Cuisine as well as Garde Manger. He is a past recipient of the College's prestigious Les Amis de Escoffier Award in 1992. He was also adviser to the Chippers Ice Carving Club for many years, members of which have won the National Student Collegiate Ice Carving Championship six out of eight years of competition. In recognition of his efforts, he received the College's Outstanding Service Award for over 5 years. O'Palenick also coached the Student Olympic Team, which traveled to Germany in October 2004, and that same year he was named 2004 Educator of the Year by the American Culinary Federation. The ACF also inducted him into the American Academy of Chefs and he was named ACF National Chef of the Year in 1995. In addition, he coached the Student Team at the 2004 ACF National Convention where they were awarded the coveted National Championship Award.Prior to joining JWU, O'Palenick was owner and executive chef at G.A. O'Palenick Catering in Western NY. He owned and operated Art in Ice, Inc. which supplied ice sculptures to functions & corporate events. After retiring from the Ice Business in 2007, O’Palenick was inducted to the NICA Hall of Fame in honor of his vision and pioneering the popularity of ice sculptures in the Rhode Island area. In May of 2014 after 34years, Chef O’Palenick recently retired and was awarded Professor Emeritus of Johnson & Wales University for his commitment and educational contributions over his career. Currently, Chef O’Palenick was elected Northeast Regional Vice President of the American Culinary Federation and just recently retired as an active member of the ACF Board of Directors. In July of 2018, Chef O’Palenick will be inducted into the American Academy of Chef’s Hall of Fame. Special Educational Achievements and Awards from the Culinary Institute of America A.S., Business Administration, Jamestown Community College B.S., Food Service Management, Johnson & Wales University M.S., Hospitality Management, Johnson & Wales UniversityJohnson & Wales University Achievements Curriculum Development for Garde Manger and Classical French CuisineCurriculum Development 4 year Culinary Degree Curriculum Development Classical French CuisineCreated Skills Videos for Johnson & Wales University.
Michael Beriau
Executive Chef Michael J. Beriau has 40 years as an Executive Chef and 10 years experience prior in all aspects of the culinary industry. He graduated in the top of his class and was voted the “Student Most Likely to Succeed” from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. Chef Beriau has been at the helm of some of the finest hotels, resorts, private country clubs, and private city clubs throughout New England.
Michael’s areas of expertise include menu design and recipe generation. He is an expert in buffet presentation and layout as well as modern restaurant plate presentation. He prides himself on staying current with today’s trends in flavor profiles and nutrition in Regional and Global Fusion Cooking without forgetting his roots in Classical French Cuisine. Previous to retiring, Michael lead the brigade at White Cliffs Country Club from 2004-January 2016. Prior to White Cliffs Country Club, Beriau worked as the Corporate Executive Chef at Dole and Bailey, Inc. where he gained vast insight into the American Cattle Industry from seed stock, to feed lots and on to the consumer. He sat on the Task Force Board for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Lowline Cattle Segment. He is a Certified Angus Beef Specialist and served as the original research chef for the very lucrative National Cattlemen’s “Muscle Profiling Project”. Chef Beriau continues to be a Keynote Speaker for many food related organizations,
and performs culinary demonstrations and lectures throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Chef Beriau is a Certified ACF Competition Judge, respected for his enlightening, positive and educational critiques.

Chef has earned many accolades throughout his distinguished career, some of which are:
*A.C.F. Massachusetts Culinary Assoc. Chef of the Year 1979
*A.C.F Competition Most Artistic Piece of the Show 1987
* IKA HOGA 1988 International Ausstellung Culinary Olympics, Frankfurt,
* Gold Medal Category B
* Gold Medal Team Competition
* Gold Medal of Honor – Austrian Chefs Society, Innsbruck Austria
* ACF National President Jack Braun, President Medallion 1990
* ACF Pioneer Valley Chefs Association Chef of the Year 1991
* Inducted into the American Academy of Chefs 1991
*ACF Pioneer Valley Chef of the Year-1999
*ACF National President Noel Cullen, President Medallion 2000
* IKA HOGA 2000 International Knockhurst Ausstellung Culinary Olympics
Michael Sohocki
Michael Sohocki, chef-owner of Restaurant Gwendolyn and co-owner of Kimura and IlForno, developed his commitment to sustainability and authenticity over a lifetime of experiences that stretches from the Texas Gulf Coast to Japan. A native of Robstown, Texas, his creative endeavors began as a visual artist and led to working as a waiter, then finding a position at Marcel’s, a small restaurant in the resort town of Port Aransas. There, he learned the discipline of the culinary craft, from washing dishes and scrubbing the kitchen sink to butchering fish, making salads and baking thousands of loaves of bread.

His apprenticeship complete, he left Texas for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and then cooking in San Francisco. He and his then-wife then took their infant daughter to live in her mother’s home country of Japan. Michael, like many gaijin, taught English. Unlike other foreigners, though, he opened a cooking school within the language program in Osaka. There, he found his beloved Glestain knife, which he customized and continues to wear holstered at his hip at the restaurant.

With the intention of eventually opening his own restaurant, when Sohocki returned from Japan, he began working at The Cove, a casual American restaurant committed to local, organic and sustainable products. While he served as chef there, he gained his own appreciation and passion for the finest seasonal ingredients and experienced the explosion of interest in the restaurant after it was featured on the Food Network.

Michael moved to Le Rêve, a 12-table contemporary French restaurant that Gourmet magazine called one of the 10 best in America. At Le Rêve, he honed his skills under the famously demanding standards of Andrew Weissman, a fellow CIA grad who trained in France. He moved with Weissman to Il Sogno, which received local and national accolades soon after it opened.

In 2010, Michael took over the former Le Rêve location and named it after his grandmother Gwendolyn, a pig farmer in Oklahoma who grew up during the Great Depression and whose resourcefulness continues to inspire him. Star Chefs named Michael a Rising Star Sustainability Chef in 2012 and the following year, the James Beard Foundation selected him as a semifinalist for Best Chef-Southwest. In 2013, he and his partner Jenn Wade opened Kimura, an izakaya and ramen shop, which presents a Japanese experience previously unknown in San Antonio.
Helmut Holzer
Vice President and Corporate Executive R&D. Previsouly President and CEO of Culinary Masters Corporation.
A native of Austria, Helmut holds the title of Kuchen Meister (European Master Chef) and Koditor Meister (European Master Pastry Chef). He is one of the 69 Certified Master Chefs in the U.S.
Chef Helmut has dedicated the last 46 years to the culinary profession and has won a host of awards and commendations along the way. They include prestigious Culinary Olympics awards and numerous World Cup titles in culinary artisrty, ice sculpting, and outstanding pastry presentations.
Most recently Helmut became the President of the American Order of Master Chefs "AMCO". Helmut has guided the culinary program to his exacting standard for many company's the last 46 years. Outside buliding the speciality programs for Dole & Bailey, Appetizer as well as our grain, dried fruits, nuts, and bean selections are personally sourced by Helmut. He has added exotic marinades and unique spice rubs to our extensive flavor inventory. There have been new additions to our food service and further prepared iteam selections that come from Chef's state of the art kitchen, the Center for Culinary Arts. He has also been involved in furthering the ongoing curriculum of the Institute du Fromage, the leading cheese education program in America.

Helmut offers and invaluable talent for furthering the education of sales representatives and our valuable customers. He is always available for training, research, and developing new and interesting products and applications that will be on the cutting edge of the culinary scene in America and beyond.
Assisting clients in a number of R&D Projects from breakfast items, snacks, sandwich solutions, pureed meal solutions, marination systems, and much more all the way to desserts items. The list of companies is long, but a few include: Starbucks Asia, United Airlines, Gate Gourmet, Swans, Cheesecake Factory, LSG Dierbergs, Wegmans, Hainan Airlines, and Kroger.
Jason Hall
I thought I would be a famous drummer when I grew up. My brother Jeff and I were in local bands together for many years through high school. When it came time to go to college and find a job, I put the band on the back burner and started looking at culinary schools.

When Jeff and I were growing up it was common to prepare some of the basic items needed for dinner. On the weekends both our parents cooked, and my mother always baked breads and sweets. Jeff and I often helped with preparing dinner so these were skills I was already comfortable and familiar with. The day I cut my long hair in exchange for a position in a professional kitchen, I still half believed I was going to be a rockstar one day.

My culinary journey began when I received my degree from The Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Pittsburgh, in 1995. Since then, I’ve worked in multiple country clubs and, with some of the best chefs in the industry, I participated in countless competitions to hone my skills. In 2012 I took the CMC exam at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Passing and becoming the 67th Certified Master Chef in the history of the exam was and always will be the biggest moment in my life and career.

The next year, I was selected to be a member of the exclusive ACF Culinary Team USA 2016, to represent the United States in international cooking competitions across the globe. In 2014, Team USA won third place overall at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg with double gold medals while obtaining the highest score out of all nations in the cold food category. In 2016 we once again reigned supreme by winning gold medals in every category and going on to place 1st in the world in the Culinary Art Category Cold Food.

I am currently the Vice President of Research and Culinary Development at Southbend where we are developing a new type of unique and involved customer support that second to none. I am President Elect at AMCO and I developed and host a webinar called "The CMC Pre-Plan" where I can assist CMC candidates in their path to taking the exam.
Richard Hoffman
Chef Hoffman serves as Corporate Executive Chef for Health Care Services Group, and has been in the culinary industry for over 25 years. A graduate of the Southeast Institute of Culinary Arts and the Greenbrier Apprenticeship program, Hoffman has worked in many sectors of the Culinary industry such as hotels and resorts, country clubs, culinary schools and restaurants. He has achieved the professional levels of The American Academy of Chefs, Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary administrator, Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional and Approved Culinary Evaluator. Currently he is Bailli for the Chaine des Rotisseurs – Baltimore Bailliage and serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the ACF.
Elle Simone Scott
Elle Simone Scott is a culinary maverick. Always drawn to creative food culture, Elle has been dazzling the culinary world since 2003, quickly becoming a highly sought after freelance Food Stylist and Culinary Producer. Elle has collaborated and contributed her unique styling abilities to Food Network, Food Network Magazine, The Cooking Channel, The Katie Couric Show, CBS Corporation, ABC’s The Chew and Bravo's Chef Roble and Co.  Her specialties don’t stop with styling and production. As the creator of SheChef Inc., a professional networking organization for women chefs of color and allies; Elle shares her passion by mentoring, teaching resource building, business consultation/ development and most importantly, Food Social Justice. Elle continues to inspire others and break glass ceilings, as she is currently the resident Food Stylist & On-Air Talent on America's Test Kitchen on PBS and the first African-American woman to do so.
Leah Sarris
Chef Leah Sarris has worked in diverse areas of the foodservice and related industries from restaurants, to instructing culinary arts at a prestigious university, foodservice consulting, farming and community outreach to improve school nutrition. Currently, she is the Program Director for the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. This means she has built and developed the first interdisciplinary program between culinary science, nutrition and a medical school, teaching future doctors and those currently in the medical field how to cook and prescribe healthier foods and lifestyles to their patients. This program is the first of its kind and over 30 other medical schools around the nation have licensed the curriculum.

Leah’s passion lies in teaching everyone from medical students, to community members taking free cooking classes at the center, to professional chefs how to make delicious food that just happens to be good for you. She strives to teach people that nutritious food should be tasty, easy to make and affordable, while arming them with the knowledge and skills to bring that vision into their kitchens.
Amy Sins
A bland press kit bio cannot prepare you for the contagious
joy, southern charm, and barefoot shenanigans of Chef Amy
Sins. She’s a mischievous host and fanatical food explorer in
constant motion. Chasing down rogue chickens, spinning
stories about Louisiana food traditions to eager diners, fishing
for supper, traveling to far-off places, dreaming up dishes with
Cajun and Creole flair – all part of Amy’s unpredictable, almost
unbelievable day-to-day adventures bouncing around South
Louisiana (and the globe).

Born and raised in nearby Gonzales, Louisiana (the Jambalaya
Capital of the World and home of the best damn brown jambalaya around), Amy didn’t follow the typical path of a New Orleans chef. No years in culinary school or humble kitchen stints at marquee restaurants. She was wired for cooking and entertaining as a kid, watching her parents’ elaborate southern dinner parties unfold. After the event we will not name happened, Amy did some deep-down soul-searching that ended in walking away from a 20-year career in sales and bootstrapping her way into building Langlois from scratch in 2012 — first as an interactive dining/open kitchen restaurant in the Marigny, and as the traveling culinary entertainment group it is today. Langlois is a tribute to her roots, combining Amy’s pure love of dinner party style
entertaining and Louisiana culture with authentic New Orleans culinary experiences.

Chef Amy lives with her husband and a rotating cast of cats and chickens in the French Quarter, which provides a never-ending source of inspiration and absurdity. When she’s not entertaining (and feeding) hungry audiences, you’ll find Amy pouncing into new adventures, working on her next cookbook, traveling, or getting dirty at Crossroads Farm. Amy also hosts “New Orleans by Mouth,” a weekly radio program on WRBH 88.3 FM.
Stephanie Charns
As a Pastry Chef, Stephanie Charns has worked in a variety of kitchens and classrooms in the Southeast. Having created desserts for diplomats and dignitaries while she was the Pastry Chef in the Virginia Governor’s Mansion, she now works as a Pastry Chef Arlington, Virginia. Chef Charns enjoys incorporating savory elements into desserts while still respecting each ingredient.
Craig Youdale
C​raig hails from Ottawa, Ontario where he began his culinary journey. Upon completing his culinary school at Canadore College, in North Bay Ontario, his career path included The Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel and Claire De Lune Restaurant in Ottawa, then on to Executive Chef at the French Bistro, Tete a Tete, in Ottawa’s trendy West End.A move to Calgary brought Executive status at one of Calgary’s top restaurants at the time, Entre Nous. As a leading influence in the Calgary’s food scene, Craig was recruited by a top culinary school in Canada, The Culinary Institute of Canada, where he ended up working for over 14 years as professor, program coordinator and wine consultant. One of Craig’s crowning achievements has been his role as Team Manager for Culinary Youth Team Canada at three Olympics in 2004, 2008 and 2016. His leading of Canada’s national team has led to Olympic Gold medals all three Olympics as well as World Grand Prix Championship in Glasgow, Scotland in 2007​.

​Craig has now moved on to Niagara College where he resides as Dean of The Canadian Food and Wine Institute. This global leading institution in fermentation sciences and culinary innovation is leading Canada in training aspiring chefs, brewers, winemakers and food developers. Craig recently was awarded a Gold Medal as Educator of the Year for 2017 from the prestigious Ontario Hostelry Institute as well as the Spirit of Niagara Award in Hospitality for his contribution to the region.
David Voelz
Chef Voelz began his culinary career at the age of 16 and ran his first kitchen at the age of 20. Gaining experience in many facets of food service, eventually becoming an owner in a restaurant, Chef Voelz took time to hone his craft by attending culinary school, graduating at age 30. Since then, through a series of jobs in hotels, country clubs, private business clubs, contract food services, and now at a CCRC, Chef is putting all these experiences into play to bring both familiar and new dining experiences to residents at Galloway Ridge at Fearrington in the heart of North Carolina. Through many years of trial and error, learning, and pushing the boundaries, Chef Voelz is a leader in retirement dining and also in the local culinary community. Chef is currently the chapter president for the ACF Raleigh-Durham Area Chef's Association and can be found supporting ACF practical exams as a Certified Evaluator in the southeast.
Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford is the Executive Chef of Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill, GA. Currently, Chef Ford is Team Captain of the ACF Culinary Olympic Team 2020, and has competed in numerous other competitions including the Bocuse d’Or Team USA 2017.
Born in Michigan, he began his culinary training in a local vocational-technical training and development program at Fordson High School & Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, MI. Soon after he joined the Ritz Carlton Dearborn in their Restaurant and Banquet operations. Gerald earned his bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), in Hyde Park, NY.
Chef Ford’s career has taken him all over the globe including turns at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Jasper Whites Summer Shack, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Other opportunities led to Chateau Robert in Montgaillard France, Commanders Palace in New Orleans LA and the Moulin de Mougins, in Mougins FR.
Sharon Olson
Sharon Olson has been immersed in marketing for the food industry for more than 35 years. She was Vice President at two leading foodservice agencies prior to forming Olson Communications in 1988 and the Culinary Visions in 2002 that surveys opinion leaders and consumers on emerging trends in the food industry. She has served as Executive Director of Y-Pulse ( since 2004. Y-Pulse focuses on young consumer eating habits and trends away from home. Ms. Olson often speaks on trends in the food industry, most recently presenting new original research at the National Restaurant Association Show, Culinary Institute of America, National Association of College and University Food Services National Conference, Refrigerated Foods Association, The Flavor Experience and Ideation Fresh Foodservice Forum. She is a frequent contributor to leading trade and business publications on the foodservice industry and consumer trends. She also regularly attends international trade shows to report on foodservice trends. She is past president of the Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and currently serves on board of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, an organization devoted to education and philanthropy that fosters the development of women leaders in the foodservice and hospitality industry. She is a recipient of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) Sparkplug Award and two awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) that recognize outstanding service on a national level. She was also awarded a Child Nutrition Showcase award by the School Nutrition Association for ground breaking original research on Vending Trends in School Foodservice. She holds an MBA with distinction from Keller Graduate School of Management and has served on the advisory board for the Hotel and Restaurant Program at Ashland University.
Christopher Tanner, CEC
Chef Christopher Tanner, CEC, AAC, is the Director at the Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School. Prior to joining CCI, Chef Tanner led the culinary research and development teams for Campbell Soup Company. His team drove authenticity, innovation, and strategy to develop delicious new products for Pace, Prego, Swanson, Plum, Pepperidge Farm, Chunky, Slow Kettle, and created the new and unique brands of Prego Farmer’s Market and Campbell’s Well Yes. As a Culinary Director, Educator, and Executive Chef of restaurants and resorts throughout the U.S., he brings over 25 years of solid foundation in the culinary arts. He is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC); the ACF’s honor society. He is an ACF approved judge, past NE Region chairperson for ACF competitions, and holds over 45 culinary competition medals between the ACF and the Société Culinaire Philatropique.

He has held various board positions with local ACF chapters and has been awarded Chef of the Year, Chef Educator of the Year, and the Chef Professionalism Award from these chapters. Nationally he has been awarded the ACF Presidential medallion for his contributions to the industry and to the growth of culinarians and chefs. Chef Tanner holds an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Schenectady County Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration from the State University of New York at Delhi, and a Master’s Degree in Gastronomy from Boston University.
Kendall Dix
Cook and organizer
Caralyn House
Chef House has a degree in Finance and Banking from Appalachian State University. She also studied at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, earning an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Chef House won a scholarship to study Pastry Arts taught by the White House pastry chef, Roland Mesnier. She has worked in restaurants in the Washington, DC, area as well as Raleigh, NC.

Chef House has a degree in Finance and Banking from Appalachian State University. She also studied at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, earning an Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts. House won a scholarship to study Pastry Arts taught by the White House pastry chef, Roland Mesnier. She has worked in restaurants in the Washington, DC, area as well as Raleigh, NC.
Chef House has been teaching a variety of classes at Wake Tech since 1991. She now focuses on the baking and pastry classes, and heads up the Baking and Pastry Arts degree program. She is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), and was awarded the 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award by the North Carolina Community College System.
Russell Scott
Russell is the Culinary Director for The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, where he oversees the food production facilities at both Carlton Woods locations.
Prior to his position at Carlton Woods he was Director of Clubhouse Operations at The Everglades in Palm Beach, Florida where he was responsible for the overall food and beverage service at the Club. Russell was Dean of Education for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, responsible for the quality and effectiveness of all education programs at the college’s campus in St. Helena, California. The position included overseeing the faculty and staff while directing the development and delivery of the curriculum and support of students enrolled in the college’s degree and certificate programs at Greystone.
Additional professional experience includes executive chef at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, Florida, the Hotel Nikko in Los Angeles and the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, California. He has held various chef positions at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles; The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, FL; The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and the Carambola Beach Resort in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Russell is also a partner at Gore-Scott Hospitality, a professional food service consultant group.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) honored Russell Scott as the USA’s Chef of the Year™ for 2008. Representing the United States in the Global Chefs Challenge the following year, he placed second among chefs from throughout the Americas. The ACF presented him with the organization’s Chef Professionalism Award in 2011.
Chef Scott was a member of Culinary Team USA, winner of two gold medals and the world championship in hot food at the International Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2004. As captain of CIA Culinary Team 2000, he earned three gold medals at the Hotelympia competition in London and five silver medals at the Culinary Olympics. Chef Scott was also captain of the California Culinary Olympic Team which won four gold, four silver, and two bronze medals at the 1996 Culinary Olympics. He was a gold medal winner at the 1998 Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg as a member of the United States Culinary Team.
A Certified Master Chef (CMC) and Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), Chef Scott is an active member of the ACF and Club Managers of America.
Jeremy Abbey
Jeffrey Schlissel
I'm Chef Jeffrey Schlissel or Cheffrey as most of my friends call me. I have been in the culinary field for over 30 years. What started as a simple thing to do with my mother turned into a lifelong career. I have an extensive knowledge cooking all types of cuisines, but I find that I truly enjoy creating dishes that combine Pan Asian Floribbean flair, or as I like to call it Floribbeanasian. I like to use locally sourced and sustainable products in my dishes. Most recently I have been experimenting with modern cuisine, smoking and created, among other dishes, the most delicious vegan bone marrow. Growing up in South Florida opened me to a Latin pantry and introduced my palate to a wider range of taste experiences. Bold, fiery flavors meshed with sweet refreshing tropical complexities come to yield a Zen-like experience for your taste buds. My restaurant experience includes corporate and independent restaurants as well as hotels and country clubs. I have been a presenter at the National Convention for five years.I am now the Chef and kingpin of the Bacon Cartel in West Palm Beach Florida. I work with local farmers to feed their animals better to give me a better usable product and make a less of an impact on our natural resources. I’ve seen too much wasted food and have tried to get to the point where maximizing profits and limiting waste became as easy as cracking an egg!
Jonathan Deutsch
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., is Professor in the Center for Food and Hospitality Management and Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University. He was the James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators and was named a Food Waste Warrior by Foodtank. Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the Ph.D. concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and School of Public Health. At Drexel, he oversees the Drexel Food Lab, a culinary innovation and food product research and development lab focused on solving real world food system problems in the areas of sustainability, health promotion, and inclusive dining. He is the author or editor of eight books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health and hospitality education. He earned his Ph.D. in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University (2004), his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (AOS, Culinary Arts, 1997), and is an alumnus of Drexel University (BS, Hospitality Management, 1999). A classically trained chef, Deutsch worked in a variety of settings including product development, small luxury inns and restaurants. When not in the kitchen, he can be found behind his tuba.
Farmer Lee Jones
Farmer Lee Jones always wears his trademark overalls and red bowtie as a symbol of his commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Ever since the early days of The Chef’s Garden’s creation over thirty years ago, he has remained tirelessly committed to not only ensuring that the family’s three hundred acre farm remains one of the most innovative and pioneering in the world, but to fostering a nuanced conversation with the chefs in our industry who look to the farm to grow vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing on the plate as they are flavorful to the palate.

Farmer Lee Jones also works alongside his dad and brother on the farm, inspiring The Chef’s Garden team to perpetually discover innovative ways to become more sustainable while at the same time, producing the highest quality ingredients possible. He was honored to receive the James Beard Foundation’s award for Who’s Who in Food & Beverage, making him one of the first farmers to receive it. He serves on the boards for Chef Magazine, Chef Concept and Modern Farmer.He appeared in an episode of the Food Network’s “Food Network Star” as well as “Restaurant: Impossible” along with First Lady Michelle Obama. He is proud to have been named one of The Daily Meal’s “60 Coolest People in Food” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and recently enjoyed spending time on the farm with television personality Andrew Zimmern for his Bizarre Foods program.

The one thing he can’t do is reveal what his favorite vegetable is because that would be like having to name your favorite child.
Eric Fleishman
Eric Fleishman (aka Eric the Trainer) began his fitness career as a 98lb. weakling living in rural Maine. This initiated a lifelong passion with martial arts that would eventually lead him to Hollywood, California. Eric spent five years working as a personal trainer (certified through ACE and TSI) in Manhattan, and it was here that he began to develop a gender specific workout regiment, as he pinpointed the science of change through three major components: diet, exercise, and sleep. For the past several years, Eric has been a committed supporter of the health and wellness initiatives of ACF and transforming the bodies of our chefs. In 2018, he was awarded the ACF "Spirit of Aloha" award at the National Convention in Orlando for his ongoing work to improve the lives of ACF chefs.
Lisa Dorfman
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Adam Kaye
Adam Kaye’s journey to The Spare Food Co. began when he interrupted anascent career at an environmental law think tank to attend the French Culinary Institute as a recipient of a James Beard scholarship, and went on to cook in and lead some of the most influential kitchens in DC and NY. For the past eighteen years Adam has worked side-by-side with Dan Barber at Blue Hill as Chef, Culinary Director, and educator. Adam co-created the successful wastED pop-up restaurant concepts in New York and London, which garnered international acclaim, and has inspired him to launch The Spare Food Co. Adam is a leading light at the forefront of culinary innovation in the burgeoning Food Waste movement.
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Thomas Recinella
Chef Recinella’s career in food service has spanned over thirty, five years. He has worked through the ranks of the kitchen from dishwasher, and line cook, to chef, which is something he is, very, proud of. He has owned and operated his own restaurant designed and opened new state of the art facilities, run operations ranging from small private clubs to large scale catering and food production to private personal chef services. Chef Tom is versatile in front and back operations. He has extensive experience in higher education where he spends the vast majority of his time these days. He currently serves as the Dean of Culinary for the Culinary Institute of Michigan a Division of Baker College.
Chef Recinella has been involved with the ACF Student Team process since its earliest days having coached, and managed student culinary teams to consistent success in two different states and two different regions of the ACF. He is an avid culinary competitor having won numerous ACF Medals and special judge’s recognition awards. His competition experience has brought him abroad as well competing and coaching in Germany at the International Culinary Olympics, Luxembourg at the World Cup, and Italy at the Italian National Championship. Chef Recinella served as an Advisor to the United States Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT) for the 2010 World Cup in Luxemburg and was a member on the New York Culinary Olympic Team from 2004 through 2006, winning the individual title of National Champion of the Cold Kitchen at the Italian National Championship in Marina di Massa Italia. He is an ACF Certified Culinary Judge and Ice Judge. He believes strongly in culinary competition as a way to develop skill and knowledge under pressure. Some of his closest friends are people he has met in the ACF Competition arena over the years.
Chef Tom has received many awards throughout his career, including the American Culinary Federation National Educator of the Year, the Sharing Culinary Traditions Award from the American Academy of Chefs, two Presidential Medallions, two Chapter Chef of the Year Awards and the State University of New York’s Chancellors Award for Excellence in teaching. He is most proud though, to have, been, inducted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.
Marco Pierre White
Dubbed the godfather of modern cooking, the first rock-star chef and original ‘enfant terrible’ Marco Pierre White is a renowned chef, restauranteur and TV personality.

He has led the UK restaurant scene for over 30 years and is regarded by many to have single-handedly dragged it to being at the forefront of modern gastronomy.

He helped kick-start the careers of many famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Jason Atherton, all of whom trained under him and his acclaimed book, White Heat, is regarded as having influenced the careers of several Michelin starred and celebrity chefs, being described by one critic as "possibly the most influential recipe book of the last 20 years".

Marco's imminent success began when, at the age of 17, he went to London to train in classical French cooking with Albert and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. He later went on to work with Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffman, both renowned for their French cooking techniques.

Marco opened his own restaurant, Harveys, in 1987 where he got his first Michelin star that year and his second the following year. He finally won his third Michelin star in 1995 at The Restaurant Marco Pierre White in the Hyde Park hotel London, becoming the first British chef and youngest chef worldwide, at the age of 33, to win three stars.

By 1999 Marco had achieved everything a chef would endeavour to become and so he finally hung up his apron on 23rd December, retiring from the kitchen.

Following his retirement, Marco took time out to spend it with his family and enjoy his hobbies, fishing and shooting. Having become an icon and an inspirational chef, in 2007 Marco jumped back in to the public eye with major TV roles in Hell's Kitchen, The Great British Menu (2008) and Australian Master Chef (2011).

A major shareholder in Black and White Hospitality, he is now dedicated to rolling-out his restaurant concepts to share his love and passion for food.

Focusing on delivering good, quality food at affordable prices his brands include Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Marco’s New York Italian, Mr White’s English Chophouse, Wheeler’s of St James’s Oyster Bar & Grill, Bardolino Pizzeria Bellini & Espresso Bar and Marconi Coffee and Juice Bar.

With the 50th UK-based venue just around the corner, Marco has just opened the first of an exciting new brand called Koffmann & Mr White’s, which is an English and French Brasserie created with his former mentor Pierre Koffmann
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Olivier Andreini
Born in Switzerland, Chef Olivier Andreini completed his culinary apprenticeship at the Hotel Montreux-Palace in Montreux, Switzerland, where he won the Prix d’Excellence awarded by La Société Industrielle et Commerciale de Montreux.

After completing his apprenticeship, Chef Andreini continued to hone his skills in restaurants around Switzerland including L’auberge de L’Onde and L’Auberge du Raisin. After Switzerland, Chef Andreini moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where his experience came to include owning two restaurants - Le Petit Genève and La Vaudoise - and becoming the Executive Chef Instructor at the Dubrulle French Culinary School. Chef Andreini made his next move to the Hudson Valley (NY) where he maintained the position of Professor in Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America for 10 years before becoming the Executive Chef at the Merion Cricket Club, an exclusive private club in Haverford, Penn. for five years and at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina for about four years.

Currently, Chef Olivier Andreini is the Executive Chef at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club in Montgomery, Texas where he utilizes his expertise to create incomparable dishes and run an immaculate kitchen.

A certified judge for the ACF, Chef Andreini has had recipes, techniques, photos and contributing materials published in numerous books for the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Andreini’s crowning achievement came in 2005 when he became one of only 68 Certified Master Chefs in the United States.
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Jody Eddy
I graduated from The University of Minnesota with an English degree, as well as, The Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. After, I cooked at Jean Georges and Tabla in New York and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray, England.

I served as the Executive Editor of Art Culinaire Magazine for three years.
I am the author of the cookbooks The Hygge Life: Embracing the Nordic Art of Coziness Through Recipes, Entertaining, Decorating, Simple Rituals, and Family Traditions for Ten Speed, Cuba: Recipes and Stories From the Cuban Kitchen for Ten Speed, the IACP Judge's Choice Awarded North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland for Ten Speed, the James Beard nominated cookbook Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants for Running Press, and Recipes and Stories from Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way for Gill Books.

I am co-founder of The Hygge Workshop, a pop-up workshop focused on the art of getting cozy, and of Fourth Floor Partners, a company dedicated to written and video storytelling for companies in the food and beverage industry.
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Kristy Carlucci
Growing up in Upstate New York, when Kristy was collecting cookbooks and watching cooking shows as a child, it was a glimpse into what grew into her passion. Growing up, she would experiment in her grandmother’s kitchen, even pretending she had her own baking show. Making people feel welcome and comfortable moved her into a career as a nurse, all the while baking for her co-workers and family every chance she got. With the support of her friends and family, she decided to make the change to turn doing what she loved into her career. Kristy gained a strong set of fundamentals while studying Baking and Pastry Arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and even stayed on to complete the Manager in Training program. During her time there, she cemented a strong foundation of technique while learning to be detail-oriented. With over a decade of professional experience, she brings a style of classic French technique with Americana comfort, while focusing on seasonality and sustainability. During her career, she has developed and strengthened her skills under the tutelage of some culinary greats. Upon gaining an internship with the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant Group, she was able to understand what working in a fine dining restaurant entailed. During her time in school, Kristy worked at the campus bakery under Chef Francisco Migoya, CMB, who made an enormous and lasting impact on her food philosophy. From there, she has honed her skills in many aspects of baking and pastry, namely at The Greenbrier, working under Chefs Thierry Delourneaux and Richard Rosendale, CMC. Currently, she is the Pastry Chef of The Osprey Tavern, as well as a chef consultant for Seito Sushi and Reyes Mezcaleria, all in Orlando, FL. Working and living in Orlando, she has enjoyed such accolades as one of the “Best Desserts in Orlando”, several mentions and articles in local publications, featured in Pastry & Baking North America, cooked for The James Beard House, worked on an original dessert for Honey Nut Cheerios, and been a VIP Chef for Beard in Baldwin Food & Wine Festival. She is also an adjunct professor of Baking & Pastry Studies at Valencia College, where she has much joy in being able to share her knowledge with the next wave of pastry cooks and bakers. When not in the kitchen, Kristy enjoys spending time with her husband and son, traveling, reading, and cheering on Orlando City Soccer Club.
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Kathryn Fenner
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Jennifer Booker