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American Culinary Federation Announces National Award Winners, Top Culinary Trends and New Board of Directors

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Afghanistan, 24th July 2017

St. Augustine, Fla., July 20, 2017—The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), the premier professional chefs’ organization in North America, conferred its highest awards on chefs and students, explored culinary innovations and trends and inducted its new board of directors during Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, July 9–13, 2017.

American Culinary Federation Presents National Awards

 The winners of ACF Regional Culinary Salons competed for the national title in their respective categories during Cook. Craft. Create. and demonstrated their culinary skills, knowledge and commitment to the craft. The ACF national competition award winners are:

U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™

Drew Garms, executive chef, The Everglades Club, Palm Beach, Florida, ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association

ACF Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European Style Butter

Dan Boman, CEPC, chef instructor, Art Institute of Phoenix, Arizona, ACF Chefs Association of Arizona, Inc.

ACF Chef Educator of the Year

Costa Magoulas, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC,Dean, Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management, Daytona State College, ACF Central Florida Chapter

ACF Student Chef of the Year

Madeline Black, student, Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute, Orem Utah, ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

 ACF Student Team National Championship, sponsored by Vitamix® Corporation

ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc. Student Team:  Nick Norton, Sean Pham, Tim Polacek, Derek Kaliszewski, CC; and Nick Wenz

Coaches: Brian Bernstein and Scott Scheible 

 Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix® Corporation

Kendall College:  Nikhil Bendre, CC; Brandy Freberg; Benton Givens; and Joshua Ludwig 

Coaches: Wook Kang, CEC, and Nelia Salvi, CC

For a full list of award recipients, visit

Top Culinary Trends Explored at Cook. Craft. Create.

The ACF National Convention & Show offered more than 1,100 chefs, cooks, students, industry professionals and culinary enthusiasts an opportunity to investigate culinary frontiers that will influence innovation in the foodservice industry. Here are the top five culinary trends: 

  1. Pop-up restaurants: In an increasingly competitive industry, pop-ups offer entrepreneurial chefs an opportunity to create innovative dining experiences, develop a following and more quickly turn a profit.
  1. Insects as cuisine: Insects have a robust history as a plentiful food source, as well as a bright future with adventurous diners. Crickets, ants and grubs are sustainable protein alternatives and flavor enhancers in food and craft cocktail creations.
  1. Modern plating: As diners continue to seek inventive and engaging culinary experiences, one tool in a chef’s arsenal is modern plating, using tools such as paintbrushes, record turntables and edible inks.
  1. Sustainably sourced ingredients: Sourcing sustainable ingredients and working with local farmers and purveyors can lead to better outcomes for the environment, business owners and today’s modern diners.
  1. “Trash fish”: Underutilized and lesser species of seafood, like lionfish and squirrelfish, can offer chefs new culinary possibilities and entice diners with the promise of meals that are as sustainable as they are delicious.  

Industry-leading presenters explored these top trends in depth, including Theodore Kozerski, co-founder, Detroit Ento; Carlos Villanueva, executive chef, Cloud Catering; Matthew Wadiak, chief operating officer, Blue Apron; and Norman Van Aken, owner, Norman’s.

American Culinary Federation Announces New Board of Directors

ACF installed national officers for the 2017-2019 term. The national officers will serve as the organization’s governing body on ACF’s board of directors and will oversee the Federation and its subsidiaries, working with ACF national office staff to guide the organization’s growth.  

“We are at a pivotal point in our organization with the introduction of a new board of directors,” said ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC. “We will work together to ensure that ACF’s mission remains relevant for today’s professionals while demonstrating the standard of excellence in everything that we do. My personal commitment is to continue to improve ACF for the next generation.”

National officers for 2017-2019 are:

  • President: Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, global culinary consultant, Atmore, Alabama
  • Immediate Past President: Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC, Food Fanatics™ Chef, US Foods, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Secretary: Kyle Richardson, CEC, CCE, AAC, professor, culinary arts, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois
  • Treasurer: Christopher F. Donato, CEC, AAC, corporate executive chef, Nestle Professional, Solon, Ohio
  • Vice President, Central Region: Brian Hardy, CEC, CCA, AAC, executive chef/director of foodservice, The Gatesworth, Ballwin, Missouri
  • Vice President, Northeast Region: Christopher Neary, CEC, CCA, AAC, corporate executive chef, J Kings Food Service Professionals, East Rockaway, New York
  • Vice President, Southeast Region: Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC, executive chef, Culinary Concepts, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Vice President, Western Region: Carlton Brooks, CEPC, CCE, AAC, retired, Mesa, Arizona
  • American Academy of Chefs Chair: Mark Wright, CEC, AAC, chair, hospitality management department, Erie Community College, Buffalo, New York 

For more information about ACF, visit Photos and interview opportunities with industry experts available upon request.

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About the American Culinary Federation

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning more than 150 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to Chef & Child, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit Find ACF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



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