The ACF’s Publications are Getting an Upgrade

by Jocelyn Tolbert

More than 15,000 ACF member chefs and subscribers read The National Culinary Review (NCR), the ACF’s bi-monthly magazine delivering timely information on food, beverage and menu trends, management/lifestyle issues, health and professional development, in one of its two forms: a print magazine and a digital one. 

Thousands of readers also visit Sizzle, our quarterly digital publication for culinary students, every month on its website and app.

If you’re one of those readers, you may have noticed that those publications are not available online as usual.

While the magazines disappearing from their respective websites at this time isn’t ideal, it’s all part of new beginnings for NCR, Sizzle and We Are Chefs that we’re so excited to be able to tell you about now.

Firstly, in January 2019, the print version of NCR is getting a complete redesign. These updates will bring the 87-year-old print magazine more in line with its contemporaries — a modern look, updated branding and refreshed editorial focus.

The biggest changes, however, are happening in the digital realm. Currently, digital subscribers flip through the pages of Sizzle and NCR as if they were looking at a physical print publication. Members have said this “digital magazine” format isn’t an ideal reading experience, and current web trends tell the same story.

So, beginning with the January/February issue, the online version of NCR will be presented like any other web content — readable right in the browser of your smartphone, tablet or computer. Readers will be able to easily share articles on social media and interact with the magazine like never before. 

Everything will merge here on — which is also getting a new, fresh face, video, social media integration and more. Sizzle will be updated more regularly. All publications will offer more diverse opportunities for readers to be a part of the conversation.

A subscription will still be required to read most NCR articles. It’s our hope that the value of that subscription will only increase with these exciting changes.

While this transformation is being implemented, both NCR and Sizzle are still available to read in PDF format. Log in to the member portal to read NCR online, or visit this link to read the most recent issues of Sizzle.

Please pardon our dust while these changes take place. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us by emailing pr [at]

Struggling to recruit new members? Try these six tips

 by Kenya McCullum

The ACF 90-Day Chef to Chef Challenge has entered its final month and you may be wondering what you can do to increase your chapter’s new member enrollments before the October 31 deadline.

ACF of Greater Buffalo New York, which is led by Chapter President Jacqueline Bamrick, has been extremely successful getting new people on board. Want to know how you can emulate their results? Bamrick, along with Mark Wright, the chapter’s Certification Chairman, provides some helpful recruitment tips below.

Give personal attention. When Wright and Bamrick talk to potential members, they start the conversation by calling them directly, or even stopping by to see them in person. As a result of this individualized attention, people’s interest in joining is piqued more than it might be if they were only contacted with an impersonal group email.

Stress the long-term benefits of membership. Once Wright does get the conversation started with potential members, he goes on to let them know how membership can be helpful for their career in the long term.

He explains his pitch this way: “I just say think about joining because you might need it someday since there’s a lot of jobs out there that require ACF certification. It might not seem like a lot right now, but down the line in ten years from now if you’re thinking about getting out of a hot, small kitchen and into a larger kitchen or corporation, that ACF certification or that ACF membership will go a long way.”

Invite prospective members to a chapter meeting. Bamrick says another reason the Buffalo chapter has been so successful at recruiting new members is because they encourage people to come to a meeting to see what the ACF community is like first-hand.

“Once they come to a chapter meeting, they see the enthusiasm, they see what we do for the community, and they always want to get involved,” she says. “We try to actually do a tangible type of involvement with them, not always talking to them.”

Tell your story. Why did you join the ACF? Why is membership so important to you? If you tell people your story, you not only get them interested in joining your chapter — you can also inspire them in their own career path.

“I joined because I wanted to get involved in something that I was very passionate about, which is culinary arts. I was a student at the time, and I also wanted to network and get certified. I achieved all that through my relationship with colleagues I met through the ACF,” Bamrick says. “Being a female role model [as] a chapter president, as well as being involved with the organization for 20 years, builds enthusiasm and interest when I represent the chapter.”

Avoid a hard sell. Although you want to be convincing when you speak to would-be members, you don’t want to annoy them and turn them off to joining your chapter entirely. Personally contacting people twice is enough to tell them how ACF membership can benefit them, as well as answer their questions, without becoming a nuisance.

Don’t forget quality. Boosting membership numbers is a great way to strengthen your chapter — but only if you recruit the right people. Bamrick suggests that while looking for new members, chapters should not sacrifice quality for quantity because in the long run, numbers alone won’t help your chapter or its members.

“I would say two really good, solid members are better than ten members that aren’t going to do anything whatsoever,” she says. “You won’t ever see them and they won’t support anything, so I would focus on the people you think are really going to make a difference, that are really going to commit. Focus on having that strength versus having just a few random people that aren’t going to be there when you need them.”

The 2019 ACF award season is already upon us

Dream of becoming Chef of the Year or winning the Student Team competition? It’s time to submit your application to compete.

The honor of an American Culinary Federation (ACF) award proves skill, knowledge and professionalism in the culinary industry and can further your recognition as a qualified chef. Below are descriptions and links to apply for each of the ACF’s national awards. Deadline for all awards applications is September 30, with the exception of Student Team, which is September 14. Good luck!

Chef of the Year

Todd Leonard, CEC, 2018 Chef of the Year

The 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.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Pastry Chef of the Year
co-sponsored by Plugrá European Style Butter and CÉMOI Chocolate

William Racin, CEPC, 2018 Pastry Chef of the Year

The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year aware recognizes a pastry chef who has displayed passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has given back to the profession through the education of others by sharing skills and knowledge.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Student Chef of the Year
Sponsored by Libbey

Julio Chavez, 2018 Student Chef of the Year

The ACF Student Chef of the Year award recognizes an up-and-coming student who possesses a high degree of professionalism, culinary skill and passion for the culinary arts.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Student Team of the Year

Fox Valley Technical College, 2018 Student Team of the Year

Participating in the student team competition is a fun way to put the skills you’ve learned in the classroom to the test. As a team competitor you demonstrate dedication and experience in the culinary industry. Participation is an instant resume builder.

Intent to compete form:

Deadline to apply: September 14

Chef Educator of the Year 

Leonard Bailey, CEC, Chef Educator of the Year

The ACF Chef Educator of the Year award pays tribute to an active culinary educator whose knowledge, skills, expertise, guidance and direction 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.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award
sponsored by Minor’s®

• To recognize an ACF chef who best exemplifies the highest standard of professionalism in today’s kitchen, through certification, continuing education and training, culinary competitions, development of young culinarians and community involvement.

• To honor active, working chefs who run the day-to-day operations of a full-service dining facility and supervise its kitchen brigade.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award

Wolfgang Geckeler, CEC, AAC, HOF, 2018 Hermann G. Rusch Award winner

The Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement 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 our profession.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Chapter Achievement

The Chapter Achievement Award honors chapters that strive for the highest level of excellence in all areas of chapter life, serving their members and their communities as well as supporting ACF’s programs.


Deadline to apply: September 30

Ohio kids get culinary training from Cuyahoga Community College students

by Jocelyn Tolbert

Confidence, courtesy and respect served as the main ingredients in cooking lessons that children in The First Tee of Cleveland program took through Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).

Pat LoPresti, executive director of The First Tee of Cleveland, a character development program that uses the game of golf and other activities to teach youth life and leadership skills, says the partnership with the College’s Hospitality Management program aligned perfectly with the organization’s mission. “It doesn’t matter if a participant has a whisk or a seven-iron in their hand to learn how to work together, respect others, create goals and make their own personal par in everything they do,” LoPresti says.

Over the eight-week program, the students learned the 12 recipes that covered the basics of cooking from some of The First Tee’s staff and Tri-C culinary students. They got to sit in on classes, check out the college’s kitchen and learn about the restaurant industry.

“Some students came for a day to watch the chefs’ classes go on. We ran them through a couple different stations, too,” says Chef Tom Capretta, Tri-C assistant professor. “It was interesting — some of them brought back mise en place to getting ready for school. It blew me away.”

Capretta (pictured above) directed the project and involved culinary students including Susan Barlow and Chantel Burse, who worked with the children, who range in age from eight to 14 years. The lessons culminated in dishes served at The Taste of the Tee fundraising dinner held in April at Tri-C’s Café 4250 at Eastern Campus in Highland Hills.

“[The kids prepared] healthy, easy items: Spicy meatballs made with turkey and Latin spices, avocado fries with sriracha aioli, lasagna cupcakes and mutabbaq, similar to baklava,” Capretta says. “With avocado fries, it gets them going through the breading process and it’s something different and healthy for you.”

The First Tee of Cleveland recognized the efforts of Barlow and Burse with $500 scholarships from the August LoPresti Fund. The fund honoring Pat LoPresti’s late father rewards students who make a difference in the lives of others.

“Both Sue and Chantel represent my father’s philosophy to always give more than anyone would expect,” LoPresti says. “They exceeded our expectations and really helped demonstrate core values and professionalism in every class.”

Burse graduates from Tri-C this month with an Associate of Applied Business degree in Hospitality Management/Culinary Arts. She will also earn certificates as a professional baker and personal chef, Barlow expects to graduate by 2020.

Lorain County JVS dominates in Ohio competitions

by Jocelyn Tolbert
CJ Howard, Culinary Arts; Olivia Coward, Commercial Baking; and Xavier Speckhart, Restaurant Services

CJ Howard, Culinary Arts; Olivia Coward, Commercial Baking; and Xavier Speckhart, Restaurant Services

Students from the Lorain County JVS Culinary Academy in Oberlin, Ohio participated in the state SkillsUSA competition on April 24 at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. CJ Howard, Culinary Arts; Olivia Coward, Commercial Baking; and Xavier Speckhart, Restaurant Services, won all three events and advance to the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky on June 25-30.

Students from the Lorain County JVS Culinary Academy also participated in the state competition of Family Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) April 21 at the Columbus Culinary Institute in Columbus, and will be advancing to the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia June 28-July 3.


Culinary Team members Zarriah Bobbitt, Kailey Hoopes, Breanna Unger and Tim Livingston.

Pictured, left to right: Culinary Team members Zarriah Bobbitt, Kailey Hoopes, Breanna Unger and Tim Livingston.

This is the second year in a row that Lorain County JVS students have won all three SkillsUSA events, and the ninth straight year they’ve won the FCCLA culinary team state competition.

The students are mentored by Timothy Michitsch, CEC, CCE, AAC; Maurina Driscoll, Hospitality Instructor; Alyssa Rose, Chef Instructor; and Chris Moore, Pastry Arts Instructor, all members of ACF Akron-Canton Area Cooks and Chefs Association.