Chef of the Year

2017 Chef of the Year Keith Coughenhour, 2018 Chef of the Year Norman Hart, and ACFPC President Rikk Panzera

2017 Chef of the Year Keith Coughenhour, 2018 Chef of the Year Norman Hart, and ACFPC President Rikk Panzera


2019 Chef of the Year Nominees

Two ACFPC chefs were nominated for Chef of the Year: Brian Buskey and William Racin. Below are bios for Chefs Brian Buskey and William Racin, followed by the nomination guidelines. The ballots have been mailed to members using the addresses on file. Please mail your ballot to the ACFPC offices using the enclosed envelope. Ballots must be received by December 28, 2018 to be counted.

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Chef Brian Buskey

Testimonial from Chef Rikk Panzera

Brian Buskey is currently the Catering Chef at Bidwell Training Center, a nonprofit adult career education training program.  He is an innovator in the kitchen, bringing over 30 years of experience and knowledge to the students he works with and guests he meets. He laid his initial culinary foundation through his affiliations with ACF Pittsburgh Chapter beginning in 1987, where he is currently the Vice President.  He was inducted into the The Chaine des Rotisseurs in 1997.   He built upon these affiliations by continuing his education and through the certifications he received across the country from Pennsylvania, New York and California.  He never gave up his love of learning and continued to gain a vast array of skills and techniques through hands on experience at his distinguished list of private establishments including the Allegheny, Longue Vue, Montour Heights, Youngstown, Wildwood, and Wykagyl Country Clubs.  He has worked for the Duquesne Club, the Mozart Room at Heinz Hall and UPMC.  He appeared in the 1997 Pittsburgh Magazine for best improved Restaurant City of Pittsburgh while at the Mozart Room at Heinz Hall.  Brian continues to expand his knowledge of new techniques and adhere to culinary regulations by attending seminars and keeping his certifications up to date, allowing him to be the excellent chef that he is today.

Education and Certifications:

  • CIA Greystone, Napa Valley, CA, “Great Chef Series” with Jean Louis Palladin

  • CIA Hyde Park, New York, Continuing Education, “Restaurant Sampler Course”

  • Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, PA - Associate of Science, Culinary Arts

  • White Sulphur Springs Greenbrier Club Chef Institute

  • Rich Rosendale, CMC Professional Classes Modernist Plating and Technique

Professional & Personal Affiliations, Charitable Causes

  • Vice President ACF Pittsburgh Chapter

  • March of Dimes Participating Chef and Committee Member for the Annual Signature Chefs Auction Years 2013,2014,2015, 2016,2017, 2018

  • Urban League Silver Lake Nutritional Foods

  • United Jewish Federation Chef Carmit of Israel

Read nomination testimonial from Chef Rikk Panzera


Chef William Racin

Testimonial from Chef Andrea Schrenk

Pastry Chef, Will Racin, has been with the club since April 2009.  He was hired as the Assistant Pastry Chef and was promoted in 2012 to the Executive Pastry Chef.  Will’s hometown is in Mantua, Ohio.  He had ties to Pittsburgh long before he ever got a job here.  Will and Jack Lambert, Pittsburgh Steeler, both attended the same high school, Crestwood High, but of course, they attended the school at different times. 

Will’s first job was at the Aurora Golf and Country Club in Ohio.  Will was following in the footsteps of his brothers who also worked at the Country Club.  Will started out in the Pantry, then Garde Manger then he was to go to the hotline but diverted to studying the science of desserts.  Will liked the fact that baking is a tricky trade--recipes need followed and precision is key.  Plus “Pastry chefs were more in demand as there is approximately 1 pastry chef to every 7 savory cooks”.  He attended the Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena, California.  After he graduated, he worked at the Barn At Walden Aurora, OH. Then moving to Nashville TN, he worked at the Provence Breads & Café and the Hermitage Hotel which is a 5 star/5 Diamond hotel.   Will met many people along his career path and a fellow chef had met Chef Coughenour.  It was mentioned to Will that the Duquesne Club would be perfect for his next position as the Pastry Chef. His friend made mention of the elite presentation and attention to detail that the club and Chef Coughenour provided. With that said, Will and his wife, Taryn, moved to Pittsburgh.  Not only was it a good fit for Will but for his wife as well as she worked for American Eagle, who have corporate offices in the Pittsburgh area.

Will has been at the Club for 8 years and the most unusual event he experienced was the Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner.  “The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an International Association of Gastronomy now established in over 80 countries bringing together enthusiasts who share the same values of quality, fine dining, the encouragement of the culinary arts and the pleasures of the table.”   This was a busy day for everyone, especially Will, as he was not only preparing the assorted breads and Intermezzo but creating the after dinner Kitchen dessert event.  On top of that, earlier in the morning, he had to compete in a professional regional Pastry Chef competition. The goal of Chaine competitions is “to encourage and promote the culinary expertise of young Chefs Rôtisseurs in the tradition of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs by exposing them to a competitive environment with their peers.”  Congratulations to Will as he was the Midwest Regional Winner!  Another day that Will said was unusual, and on the other end of the spectrum, was when he saw Gene Simmons, singer of the rock band KISS, walk through the kitchen.  Mr. Simmons was here for a speaker series.  There are always exciting things happening here at the Club.

Back in 2012, Will and the Pastry Department started to make chocolates in all kinds of flavors, dark, milk and white.  They filled the decadent chocolates with either ganache or jam.  Members continue to rave about the chocolate and it has become a big hit for the club.  Will recently came back from the trip of a lifetime. An all-expenses paid trip to Switzerland! He got an opportunity to visit a few of the factories that partner with Albert Uster Imports, one of our chocolate purveyors based out of Maryland.  While there, Will attended a masterclass with famed Felchlin Corporate Pastry chef Stephan Iten.  It was an experience as they participated in sensory exercises, chocolate tasting, factory tours and recipe development.  Will learned a lot from that trip and will be using some of the new techniques he was taught at the Club.

Will says he tries to leave a lasting impression in everything he does.  He has some life advice to give and states “One should always work harder than the person to your right or to your left”.  Will also says he “never says no to anything”.  Will enjoys making the members happy and he has created many wedding cakes for them among other things.  He recalls making a Boston college logo cake for Mr. Chris McMann. It was for his son who was attending the college at that time. He also does a lot of Penn State logos for member’s children that are heading off to college.  Will says he does some Pitt logos too but that Penn State out beats Pitt here at the Club.   Sorry to any Pitt fans out there!

The Pastry Department at the Duquesne Club is known for its hard work, expertise and delectable goodies.  We are glad to have Will on our management team as he is the icing on the cake! 

In July of 2018 Will competed in New Orleans against 3 other individuals for the Title for Pastry Chef of the Year through the American Culinary Federation. Fortunately, he received the title and has been helping to develop young cooks to pursue the same goal.

Read nomination testimonial from Chef Andrea Schrenk


Chef of the Year Nomination Guidelines

  1. The Chef of the Year nominee should have high standards as a chef in his or her particular establishment, upholding the standards set by our colleagues before us, and devoting his or her time to the culinary field and the ACFPC. The nominee should be respected by all of the members as a chef that we would be proud to hold as our Chef of the Year.

  2. Must be a Professional Culinarian or Senior Professional Culinarian member.

  3. Must be a paid member in good standing.

  4. Must participate in functions of the organization and lead at least one of those various activities.

  5. Must have a good attendance record to general meetings.

  6. Must be certifiable as a Chef d’Cuisine, Pastry Chef, Executive Chef or Master Chef.

  7. Nominee may be considered for his or her participation from previous years.

  8. When nominating, the person making the nomination must be prepared to explain his or her reasons for placing that Chef in nomination.

  9. The election of the Chef of the Year will be conducted by following the Constitution and By-laws of the ACFPC, in conjunction with Robert’s Rules of Order.

  10. A committee of three members will be appointed to conduct the election and to assure the nominees are qualified to receive the award.

  11. For every 40 Professional Culinarian and Senior Professional Culinarian members, there will be one nominee for the Chef of the Year award, which will be made by the general membership.

  12. A member can receive the honor only once within a 10 (ten) year period.

  13. He or she, the nominee, must be a definite example