The 2017 American Culinary Federation Award Winners

Congratulations to all the chefs who competed in the national culinary competitions and to the chefs who were recognized for their dedication to the industry. The national awards and the new ACF Board of Directors were announced at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, July 9-13, in Orlando, Florida. The convention featured engaging educational seminars, networking opportunities and demonstrations on the latest culinary trends from leading industry experts.

Check out ACF’s Flickr page for photos that you can download and share.


U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year

The U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™ award recognizes an outstanding culinarian who works and cooks in a full-service dining facility. This person has demonstrated the highest standard of culinary skills, advanced the cuisine of America and given back to the profession through the development of students and apprentices. This year, competitors had 60 minutes to create, cook and display four plates that best utilize the main ingredients of oysters, quail and hanger steak.

Drew Garms
Executive Chef
The Everglades Club
Palm Beach, Florida
ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association


Pastry Chef of the Year

Sponsored by Plugrá® European Style Butter

The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award recognizes a pastry chef who displays a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has helped educate others by sharing skills and knowledge.

Dan Boman, CEPC
Chef Instructor
The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Phoenix
ACF Chefs Association of Arizona, Inc.


Chef Educator of the Year

ACF Chef Educator of the Year award pays tribute to an active culinary educator whose knowledge, skills and expertise have enhanced the image of the professional chef, and who, by example, has given leadership, guidance and direction to students seeking a career in the culinary profession. This person demonstrates the ability to help students define and develop their careers by using their skills and abilities to provide a strong foundation for their future success.

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


Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award

This award, formerly the Hermann G. Rusch Humanitarian Award, honors chefs who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to both ACF and the culinary profession. Such chefs, through their involvement with and contributions to ACF and our craft, have advanced the culinary profession and ensured the enrichment of students, our members and those in the profession. Candidates are worthy of carrying on the proud tradition of the chef for whom this award was named, Hermann G. Rusch, AAC (1907–1997).

Michael Beriau, CEC, AAC
Executive Chef
White Cliffs Country Club
Plymouth, Massachusetts
ACF Epicurean Club of Boston


Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award

Sponsored by MINOR’S®

The national Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award is presented to the chef who exemplifies the highest standard of professionalism through certification, continuing education and training, culinary competitions and community involvement. It honors culinarians who help elevate the status of chefs and cooks in the United States.

Ralph C. Feraco, CEC, AAC
Executive Chef
Kensington Golf and Country Club
Naples, Florida
ACF Caxambas Naples & Marco Island

Feraco, Ralph

Student Chef of the Year

The ACF Student Chef of the Year award recognizes a student who possesses a high degree of professionalism, culinary skills and passion for the culinary arts.

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


Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl

Sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix

Student teams compete in a “Jeopardy”-style competition with questions covering topics such as nutrition, baking, culinary math, safety and sanitation, and the arts of classical and modern cooking.

Kendall College
Team: Nikhil Bendre, CC, Brandy Freberg, Benton Givens and Joshua Ludwig;
Coaches: Wook Kang, CEC, and Nelia Salvi, CC

Kendall College

Student Team Championship

Sponsored by Vitamix

Youth teams competed in a two-part competition: the edible cold-food buffet platter and the signature four-course menu. In the edible cold food competition, teams prepared a buffet platter. The market basket of ingredients included rabbit, peas, corn, red lentils and habanero chilies. Teams then transitioned to prepare a signature four-course menu in two hours and 10 minutes. The menu included a seafood starter course, salad course, main course and dessert course.

Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc.
Team: Sean Pham, Derek Kaliszewski, Nick Norton, Nick Wenz and Tim Polacek
Coaches: Brian Bernstein and Scott Scheible

Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis

2017 – 2019 ACF Board of Directors


World of Thanks Award

ACF Central Florida Chapter

National Chapter of the Year

ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of California

Region of the Year Award

Western Region

Stepping Up to the Plate Award

This award recognizes a chapter that always comes through to support the mission of the ACF.

ACF of Greater Buffalo New York

President’s Medallions

The President’s Medallion is the highest recognition an individual can receive from the current president of the ACF. It is bestowed upon a chef for his or her outstanding contribution to the culinary profession.

Joe G. Aiello, CEC, AAC
Jacqueline Bamrick, CEC, AAC
David A. Bedwell
George Castaneda, CEC
John Coletta
Richard Crisanti, CEC, CCA
Christopher Eiseman, CEC
Eric Ernest, CEC, CCA
Peter Felton
Charlie Gipe, CEC, AAC
Dennis Graffeo, CEC, AAC
Francine Greff, HAAC
Jason Hall, CMC
Jacqueline Hamilton, CEC, AAC
Adam Heath
Chris Kube
Doug R. Maneely, CEC, CCA
Vanessa Marquis, CEC
Michael C. Miely, CEC
Patricia Nash
Robert Patton, CEC, CCA
Mary Petersen
David Preston
Michael Priola, CEC, AAC
Kathleen Salemno, HAAC
J. Kevin Storm, CEC, CCA, AAC
Randy Torres, CEC, AAC
Michael Ty, CEC, AAC
Mark Wilson, CEC, AAC

Cutting Edge Awards

Sponsored by Friedr. Dick Corp.

This award recognizes individuals that are helping to forge our industry toward the future through innovation, leadership, and defining culinary trends and skills.

Stephen Afflixio, CEC, AAC
Jeff Bland
John Byrne
Peter Felton
Anthony Graffeo, CEC, AAC, HOF
Ryan Hicks
Peter Hodgson, CEC, AAC
Chris Kube
Chuck Martin
Ryan McNutt, CEC
Angelo Montes, CEC
Reimund Pitz, CEC, AAC, HOF
Peter Salemno, AAC
Hal Small, HBOT, HAAC, JD

Achievement of Excellence Award

The Achievement of Excellence Awards recognize foodservice establishments and the chef or kitchen for their commitment to excellence in foodservice. Establishments must have been in business for at least five consecutive years; have employed the same chef or kitchen manager for a minimum of two years and be open a minimum of five days a week.

Bonsai Sushi, Orlando, Florida
Le Coq Au Vin Restaurant, Orlando, Florida
Ristorante Bellotero, Palermo, Italy
Il Ristorante Sciapo, Altavilla Milicia, Italy
Osia Steak & Seafood Grill at Resort World Sentosa, Singapore
Empire Chinese Kitchen, Portland, Maine
Tapella Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Makati, Metro Manila
Barberian’s Steakhouse Tavern, Toronto, Ontario
Brook’s House of BBQ, Oneonta, New York
AVRA Madison Estiatorio, New York, New York
Roots, East Norriton, Pennsylvania
Remington Tavern & Seafood Exchange, Buffalo, New York
Tempo, Buffalo, New York
Savor, Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, Buffalo, New York
Paula’s Donuts, Buffalo, New York
Calabria Ristorante, Clermont, Florida
Olde Hearth Bread, Orlando, Florida
Chocolate Accents, Longwood, Florida
Henry James Saloon, Roxborough, Pennsylvania
510 Johnnys, Bel Air, Maryland
Double TT Diner, Annapolis, Maryland
Revolution House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Biltmore, Miami-Coral Gables, Florida
Deerfield Episcopal Center, Asheville, North Carolina

American Academy of Chefs

The honor society of ACF, the American Academy of Chefs (AAC) represents the highest standards of professionalism in the organization, society and industry. The Academy’s primary mission is to promote the education of all culinarians by mentoring culinarians, awarding scholarships to students seeking a future in the culinary industry, and by providing grants to professional working chefs looking to further their career.

2017 AAC Inductees
Gloria M. Cabral, CWPC®, CCE®
MaryAnn P. Kiernan, CCC®, CCE®, MBA
Thomas Kiernan, CEC®, CCA ®
Richard A. Panzera, CEC®, CCE®
Gerard A. Prevost, CEC®, CCE®

Southeast Region
Bruce R. Christensen, CEC®, CCA®
Nancy L. Geddes, CEC®
Gary R. Klinefelter, CEC®
Lisa M. Ramsey, CEC®, CEPC®
Donald E. Sedivy, Jr., CEC®
Denny Trantham, CEC®, CCA®, MBA
Peter F. Vossenberg, CEC®, CCE®, CCA®

Central Region
Anthony D. Haacke, CEC®
John Reed, CEC®, CCA®
Jim M. Tinkham, CEC®

Western Region
Richard A. Reilly, CEC®, CCA®

Jim Binner
Jorge F. Estela
Paul S. Haar, JD
Johan T. Meinke, CEC®
Claude D. Mongeau, CEC®
Jan Osipowicz
Steven Senick

AAC Chair’s Medal
Rajeev V. Patgaonkar, CEC®, AAC®

Lawrence A. Conti, CEC, AAC, HOF, Chair’s Achievement Award
Roger W. Newell, CEC®, CCE®, CCA®, AAC®

Joseph Amendola Award
Gerard M. Molloy, CEPC®, AAC®

Chef Good Taste Award
Ewart G. Jones, CEC®, AAC®, PhD

Sharing Culinary Traditions Award
Jacqueline L. Hamilton, CEC®, AAC®

Lt. General John D. McLaughlin Award
Brandon W. Parry, CEC®, AAC®

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jess Barbosa, CEC®, AAC®

Hall of Fame
John D. Folse, CEC®, AAC®, HBOT
Denise S. Graffeo, CEC®, AAC®
Frederick A. Robinson, CEC®, AAC®

Honorary Culinary Hall of Fame
Jess Barbosa, CEC®, AAC®

Roger S. Kelly, CEC®, AAC®

AAC Culinary Hall of Fame Celebrated Chef
Norman Van Aken

Industry Partner

Southbend is a division of the Middleby Corporation and a recognized global leader in heavy-duty, commercial cooking equipment. With perpetual new equipment innovations in the areas of energy savings, cooking speed, automation and safety, Southbend products are considered the best in the industry by chefs. Southbend has been a strong supporter of the ACF and has also played a key role with ACF Culinary Team USA.

Diamond Sponsor

A Diamond Sponsor is an elite level reserved for partners who have demonstrated their dedication to ACF through Grand Platinum-level sponsorship for no less than six consecutive years. Due to the exceptional nature of their support, NEWCHEF Fashions Inc. is being recognized as a Diamond Sponsor in less than six years. NEWCHEF has generously supported ACF regional and national events, as well as sponsoring ACF Culinary Team USA. Our relationship with NEWCHEF has evolved from a conventional sponsorship into a true commitment to the culinary industry.

The 2018 event series will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 25-28; Newport Beach, California, March 18-21; and conclude with Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, July 15-19, in New Orleans.

Call the ACF Events team (904) 824-4468 to learn more about the new events payment plan available to ACF members.

Want to share your expertise with ACF chefs? The ACF national office is seeking proposals for sessions and demonstrations for 2018 events. Submit your proposal by Sept. 1 to be considered. All proposed sessions must demonstrate innovative trends, information, and techniques of interest to the culinary profession. Please email any questions to:

4 thoughts on “The 2017 American Culinary Federation Award Winners

  1. Pingback: ACF Announces National Award Winners, Top Culinary Trends and New Board of Directors - Culination Magazine

    • Hi Lili,

      There will be additional tryouts and more individuals named before the entire ACF Culinary Team USA is assembled. The American Culinary Federation will announce the final team to the public at that time.

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