I hope this letter finds all of you starting to warm up. It seems like as soon as the weather starts to break, it gets cold again. But as Punxsutawney Phil promised, there will be an end to winter soon!
We just learned of the passing of Rev. Willie F. Stinson late last year. Rev. Stinson, 82, passed away on November 10, 2018. He was the son of the late Will C. and Katie Frazier Stinson.
He graduated from Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and the Culinary Institute of America in New Haven, Connecticut. He also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in theology from Trinity College of Bible in Newburgh, Indiana. Rev. Stinson committed his life to Christ at the tender age of 12. He was licensed to preach the gospel of Christ in June 1986 and ordained a Minister in June 1987. He has served as Assistant Pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Washington, PA and New Zion Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, PA. He also served as the Pastor at First Baptist Church in Marianna, PA. Through his professional career, he worked at the Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts in New York, New York as an Executive Chef. He was an instructor and Regional Director for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York; where he was responsible for the chef's apprenticeship program for the East Seaboard. He also served as an executive chef at Lone Pine Country Club in Washington, Pa. Rev. Stinson also taught the CCAC, in Pittsburgh PA until his retirement to full-time Pastor. Our sympathies go out to his former students, those in his ministry, friends, and family.
At the February monthly meeting of the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter, we had 5 students enter the “Anything Goes” competition. The theme of the competition was Decorated layer cakes. Entering the competition were: Kathleen Garland from Bidwell Training Center, Richard Grabowski from Bidwell Training Center, Ian McVaugh from CCAC Culinary, Trang Nguyen from CCAC, and Rebekah Shumsky from CCAC.
The competition was judged by Chefs Kodi Mikiewicz and Randy Herbe, along with the sponsor of the competition - Cappi Hilyard from Dexter Cutlery - who provided the prizes for the winners.
First place went to Trang Nguyen for her Chocolate Carrot Cake with Italian Buttercream. Ian McVaugh won second place for his Orange, Cardamom, Vanilla Layer Cake with Italian Buttercream. And the third place winner was Richard Grabowski for his Black Forest Cake. Photos of all of the cakes are available here: https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/past-events/2019/2/23/february-18-2019-anything-goes-layer-cake-competition-at-ccac. Thank you to all of the judges and competitors, as well as Chef Art Inzinga for organizing this event.
Last week, I attended the ACF Regional Chef Connect in Atlantic City, NJ. The meeting was enlightening and informational. There were many seminars and demonstrations throughout the 3 days. One of the meetings was a leadership training by Joseph Syrowike, from the ACF national office. He discussed various ways for chapters to increase membership. All chapters are losing membership and if we (the ACF in general) lose too many, the ACF as we know it will cease to exist! Some smaller chapters are discussing merging because it’s easier and financially sound to do so. He discussed offering monthly giveaways to draw new members in as well (similar to what we started for junior members who are in school).
There was a question about anniversaries. The ACF is 90 years old this. I thought we’d been around for a while (75 years this year), but Cleveland’s chapter is 60, and The Epicurean Club of Boston is 125 years old! Congratulations to the ACF National, Cleveland, & Boston.
The opening general session presentation was by Michael Twitty, culinary historian on African Roots and how it helped developed our cuisine. His book, The Cooking Gene, traces his family’s history from the time they arrived in the U.S. to now. Michael also has done presentations in Pittsburgh pertaining to the underground railroad at the August Wilson Center. He’s a powerful speaker and a kindhearted man.
There were other presentations on plant forward cuisine, Caribbean cuisine, food systems problems & food waste, The Art & Craft of Charcuterie of the Modern Menu by Michael Ruhman & Brian Polcyn. Jacob Wright, a pig farmer from VA donated a half pig for Brian to breakdown during the presentation. Afterwards, there was a Q&A session. Mirror Glaze- Pastry Techniques was done by Michael Mignano & Michael Zebrowski. Mignano is formerly of the Pierre Hotel in NYC and Zebrowski is the Pastry Chef at the American Bounty Restaurant at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY.
The closing meeting had a presentation by Jeremiah Tower, former owner of Stars Restaurant in Berkeley, CA and considered one of the founding fathers of modern American Cuisine. He was also promoting his book called Start the Fire: How I Began the Food Revolution in America. There was also a documentary produced by Anthony Bourdain last year called The Last Magnificent. It can be seen on Netflix. Jeremiah Tower was one of the chefs from the late 70’s -80’s who set a standard. If you were an up-and-coming chef, he was a chef you noticed.
All in all, the conference was very good with a lot to see and very informative.
I’d like to remind everyone the general meeting will be hosted by Montour Heights C.C. in Robinson on Monday 25 March 2019 at 7:00pm. The guest speaker will be Dr. Richard Mills. His presentation will be on community gardens.
Finally, don’t forget our Annual Awards & 75th Anniversary Dinner. It will be held at the Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley Heights. Chef Dustin Bates promises a wonderful evening. Tickets are available on our website http://acfpittsburgh.org
I hope to see you at Montour.
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC