February 2018 - Message from the President

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Hello Everyone,

I hope this letter finds you in good spirits.  We started this year with an exciting meeting at The Capital Grille. Executive Chef Donato Coluccio CEC did a presentation on aging meat. He discussed the process of dry aging vs wet aging. He talked about the benefits of both as well as the taste value of each. He had three (3) sirloins aged for different times. He explained dry aging is minimum of 18 – 35 days at 36* open & unwrapped, post mortem to market. Wet aging is 7-10 days post mortem up to 21 days. Chef prepared tastings of the various steaks.  He also mentioned that there are some customers who want steaks aged longer than 35 days. This is special and not for everyone.

He removed both ends of each sirloin. He said they give about 12,000 pounds of the beef trim per year to the homeless shelters. He demonstrated cutting the sirloins into NY steaks and trimmed them to Capital Grille specs.

The steaks were simply seasoned and grilled from rare to medium rare doneness. The flavors of the steaks had their own identity and flavor. All were very good and as you might expect, the longer dry aged had the tendency to be a little drier, so undercooking these items was important to retain as much moisture as possible.

I have to say it was exciting seeing such a large turn out. I saw friends from years past as well as meeting new ones. We topped out at 60+ guests with standing room only.  I heard from a few of you saying they enjoyed the presentation and thought it was very informative. I would like to thank Chef Coluccio for hosting the meeting and sharing his knowledge. I would also like to thank Bob Hruby, Meat Specialist at Stockyard Meats (retired), a division of US Foods, for his comments and knowledge on meat. Bob has been a supporter of the ACFPC for many years.

Our next meeting will be held at CCAC, Jones Hall 808 Ridge Ave on Monday 19 February at 7:00pm hosted by Chef Inzinga. This meeting will be earlier than normal do to the ACF Regional conference in Charlotte, NC at the end of the month. This will be our first Anything Goes Competition of the year. The competition is open to all student and junior members. The theme is “Dessert Cheesecake.” Please visit our website ( https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/anything-goes-competition ) for details and contact Chef Inzinga ( ainzinga@ccac.edu ) if you would like to compete. There will also be a presentation titled "The Science of Flavors" by Chef George M. Sideras CEC, AAC, HGT of Nestles. The presentation will define the components of flavor, explain the science behind how we taste and experience flavor, and it will include demonstrations. This is sure to be an exciting and very informational meeting.

Our Annual Awards dinner will be held at St Clair Country Club on Sunday 11 March at 5:00pm. Exec Chef Shawn Culp CEC, WACSMC, MBA will head the team for what looks like an exciting evening. The invitation information is available on the website at https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/2018-gala. Please remember that your reservations will need to be made online prior to the event.

Finally, as I’m writing this, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means we’ll have six more weeks of winter!

Stay warm and I hope to see you at CCAC.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

 

January 2018

Greetings Everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all in a festive mood and you are looking forward to the Christmas holidays. The holiday parties will wind down, and we’ll be right in to the New Year’s celebration. As we all know, there will be a short reprieve before a whole new schedule starts again.

As you know, the elections were closed at the November meeting, and the election ballots were sent out. I hope everyone filled in the election ballots and returned them.  They need to be received by 28 Dec or they will not be counted. Please make sure you return them. As the saying goes, every vote counts.

I would like to thank you, our membership, for your constant support throughout the year. We’ve had great educational and social meetings. For this, I’d like to thank our hosts. Many have held their doors open for us over the years, but for some, it was a new and welcome experience. Thank you for allowing us to share in your hospitality. I hope we’ve been helpful by introducing you to the membership. This past year, the awards dinner was held at Sewickley Heights Golf Club, and as you know, it was amazing! Chef Martin Thomas, CEC and his staff did a fantastic job. They went above and beyond our expectations.  Remember to save the date for our next award’s dinner which will be hosted by St. Clair Country Club on Sunday, March 11, 2018.

My thanks go to Chefs Joe Bello and Brian Buskey for their continued effort to improve our membership and public image. They are the Co-Chairs of the Next Gen Council, a committee made up of our new and young culinarians who see the value in their membership. Through their efforts, they are paving the way to the future of the ACFPC and what we stand for. We must keep in mind, that this will soon be their organization and they will be in charge. We are a fellowship of not only culinarians but all who are affiliated in the food service industry including; managers, wine professionals, purveyors, and owners.  I am proud to say that we have a variety of these professionals as members and hope more will find the value of the ACF as they have.

Though out the year, the attendance at our meetings has increased as has our membership with new and renewing members. They recognize that we, as an organization, are here to stay and will look to the future of our existence. We cannot sit on the laurels of our past and expect to move to the future. It’s important that we support the new generation and listen to their ideas.

I would like to thank the Board for your continuous support and keeping me on track, and Lisa our Webmaster for keeping our website going. And finally, you the membership, for there would not be an ACFPC without all of you. Thanks for believing in us.

Our next meeting is at the Capital Grill on Monday, January 29 at 7:00pm. It will be hosted by Exec. Chef Donato Coluccio. Chef Coluccio is another long standing and well respected member of ACFPC. He will do a presentation on dry aging vs wet aging meat along with a few other facts on meat. All participants will receive 1 CEU for ACF continuing education. We will have space for 40 members so reservations are required. Please send your reservations to me at cpcater@comcast.net or leave a message at 412-508-7805.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday season. I hope the New Year brings all of us a happy and bright future.

Don’t forget to email me your reservation for the Capital Grill meeting on Monday 29 January 2018.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

December 2017

Greetings Everyone,

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with family and friends. The Christmas holidays and New Year will soon be here and will be gone even faster. During December everyone will receive a voting ballot in the mail. Please be sure to take a few minutes to vote and return the ballot in the envelope provided. It’s important to show your support for the nominees. The nominations were officially closed at the November meeting.

The November meeting was hosted by Chef Randy Tozzi at his second restaurant, Mac & Toz Alehouse in Bridgeville. Chef Tozzi is a long-time member and supporter of the ACF.  This restaurant is a different format from his first, Bakn in Carnegie. Bakn will soon have a sister restaurant in Warrendale which will open in early-to-mid 2018. Chef Tozzi is not a stranger to the Pittsburgh food family. He’s been a regular on WQED and has worked at the Duquesne Club and Market District before opening Bakn with his partner Dr. Susan McMahon.

There will not be a general meeting during December. Our next meeting is at the Capital Grill on Monday 29 January at 7:00pm, (more information to follow). It will be hosted by Exec. Chef Donato Coluccio. Chef Coluccio is another long standing and well respected member of ACFPC. He will do a presentation on dry aging vs wet aging meat along with a few other facts on meat. All participants will receive 1 CEU for ACF continuing education. We will have space for 40 members so reservations are required. Please send your reservations to me at cpcater@comcast.net or leave a message at 412-508-7805.

As we once again close out this busy season, don’t forget to reflect back on what this year has been and look ahead to what the future has in store. I wish you all a very Happy Holidays and bright New Years. Thank you for a wonderful 2017 and I look forward to seeing you at Capital Grill.

Fraternally,

Rikk Panzera CEC CCE, AAC

ACFPC President

 

November 2017

Hello Everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all in good spirits. It now time to turn our clocks on Sunday, get another hour’s sleep and start thinking about what accompaniments are going with the turkey.

This past Monday was our October monthly meeting. Joe Mastro did a presentation on ice carving. He explained how ice carving evolved from the time of using a 6 prong ice chipper and Japanese carving tools to chain saws, die grinders, and irons to the computerized CNC Router that are now used for more precise and accurate rendition of almost anything you want. He mentioned that one of the advantages of the machines is that once the picture or drawing in programed into the computer, you can make the same sculpture a year later and get the exact rendition as the previous one. The ice has changed as well. The blocks are crystal clear and the result is a more eye appealing sculpture. One of the sculptures he made was the ACF logo. The logo had the pleats on the chef’s hat, blue stars, and red and blue wavy lines for the flag. The colors were made by pouring colored sand into recesses in the ice. The sand was then held in place with “snow” - a byproduct of the ice carving process – which was packed in behind the sand. It’s a whole new way of designing ice. One sculpture that has become very popular is a “luge” where a channel is cut into two pieces of ice so that they line up when the ice is sealed closed. When a beverages is poured into the top of the ice, the liquid flows through the channel into a glass at the bottom. It is a very impressive way to serve ice-cold beverages.

Joe and his brother Mike have been supporters of the ACF for over twenty-five years. Over the years, they’ve given ice carving classes to many of the city’s finest carvers. Today, they spend their time on this business and leave most of the carving to the artists that work at the ice plant. Joe Mastro’s presentation and demo were live-streamed and can be watched at https://youtu.be/-i7iRyqqY0s

The meeting was hosted by Chef Cindy Tuite CEC, CCE, AAC Program director at Bidwell Training Center. Chef Brian Buskey, ACFPC Sargent-at- Arms and Catering chef at Bidwell prepared an Asian buffet. The items were; Asian Peanut Noodles with Hoisin Salmon Nuggets, Spiced Asian Chicken Bao Steamed Buns with Kim Chi and Quick Pickled Cucumbers served a Siracha Aioli, Steamed Pot Stickers with a Spicy Dipping Sauce, and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Tamarind Cashew Dipping Sauce. Thank you, Chefs Tuite and Buskey for taking the time to host our meeting.

November’s meeting will be a social meeting. Please bring your spouses or a guest and enjoy a fine evening of comradery and great food. This is the last meeting of the year and will be held at Mac and Tozz in Bridgeville. Chef Randy Tozzi one of our city’s most well-known and respected chefs. Reservations are requested for this meeting. More information to follow.

The ACF’s Master Chef’s Exam was last month. Ten chefs started the week-long test and three passed. Parts of the test were live-streamed and are available on Youtube. Congratulations to the 2017 American Culinary Federation Certified Master Chefs: Gerald Ford, CMC; Joseph Leonardi, CMC; and Shawn Loving, CMC, CCA. I’d also like to mention that our Chef’s Spot Light for this month’s newsletter will feature Chef Byron Bardy, CMC, AAC. Chef Bardy has had a career that is over 50 years young and still going strong!!!!

Finally want to I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. It’s important to take the time to spend with your family and friends, you deserve the time as much as they do. Remember, they are the backbone and strength of what makes us who we are.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

 

October 2017

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all well and in good health.  It seems like the summer had gone by very quickly and autumn has officially arrived. I find this to be my favorite and the most beautiful time of the year. The fall colors starting to turn, the smell of the fallen leaves on the ground, and the chill in the air all leads to a crisp, clean feeling. Fall crops are now available, and the variety are plentiful. It’s also a time to not only go for a drive to see the colors, but also to stop by the road side veg & fruit stands and support some of the smallest farms in our area. In fall, we think about heartier foods, warmer drinks, apple pies, pumpkin pies, berry, and mincemeat pies. If you look closely you’ll see tap lines that have been set for maple syrup production. All this amounts to the benefit living in the north. Yes, it can get cold, snowy, & icy but the change of seasons is something we are fortunate to experience and it can’t be beat.

Before we know it, the holidays will be here. Many of you are gearing up for the holiday functions and dinners. Some businesses may need extra help during this time, please feel free to send me a message on what positions you need to fill and I’ll pass on the information. Make sure that you send pertinent information: desired qualification, who to contact, email, and phone number.

Last Monday, 25 September, we held our general meeting along with the last Anything Goes Competition for this year headed by Chef Inzinga CEC, CCE, AAC. The meeting was held at PTC hosted by Chef Norman Hart, CEC, CCE, AAC and the culinary staff and students. There were three competitors, all being from PTC. There were 4 judges: Chefs Johan Meinke, Edward Colon, Dave Russo, & Mark Clink. Chef Inzinga arranged with Dexter Knife Co. to donate knives as prizes for the competitors. Their names in order of placement are 1st Conner Capazoli from The Duquesne Club, 2ndVictoria Rucci from Buca di Beppo, & 3rd Chandler Flak from The Carnegie Science Center.  Thanks to Chef Inzinga, our competitors, judges, hosts, and everyone else who helped organize another great competition.

This month on 30 October, our meeting will be held at Bidwell Training Center. Joe and Mike Mastro owners of Mastro Ice Company, have agreed to do an ice carving demonstration and will have a few pieces of ice for a few people to try their hand in carving. They will discuss the various techniques of carving ice as well as the new technology now being used. Joe is a Master Ice Carver, and he and Mike are founding members of NICA National Ice Carving Association. They are both national and international competitors and past judges.

Joe & Mike have been loyal supporters of ACFPC for over thirty-five years. Their work can be found at many of the city’s events, at our Annual Awards Dinners, and in the movie Groundhog Day.  I was fortunate enough to work with Mike and Joe for the homecoming of our troops from Desert Storm. Along with 5 or so other carvers we produced a red, white, & blue flag complete with 50 stars and an eagle on top. This sculpture was featured on the cover of NICA magazine 1994 or 1995. Many of the tables, bowls, and figures are also found on their website, www.mastroice.com .  This will certainly be a fun evening.

Also, there are Board positions opening up at the end of the year. More information will follow in an email blast.  Nominations will continue until our November meeting.  Finally, the November meeting will be a social meeting at Mac & Tozz in Bridgeville.  I hope to see many of you all at the meeting.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

September 2017

Greetings Everyone,

I hope you all had a great summer. As of today it’s chilly and the temperature is pretty erratic! I guess it’s common for us.  Now that the weather is beginning to change, the last of the tomatoes, berries, squash, & fresh herbs from our gardens will make way for heartier foods that come along with the season.  New local fall crops such as root vegetables, apples, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, spinach, pumpkins, & squash are a sampling of what our area has to offer. For us in the north we start to move away from lighter fare and think warm items.  Hearty soups & game meats always come to mind.

I always look forward to this time of year. The natural change to fall colors is a short-lived, but special beauty, that unfolds before us.

On Monday 28 August, we were treated to a wonderful ACF general meeting at the Duquesne Club. Chef Cougheneour and his staff prepared very tasty appetizers for a pre-demonstration Hors D’ Oeuvres hour - simple and full of flavor.

Executive Pastry Chef William Racin CEPC, assisted by Kodi Mikiewicz, provided a demonstration about Molded Truffles. He prepared a Lemon Caramel Truffle and Pistachio Strawberry Truffle. He brought us through the entire process which, according to Chef Racin, can be a time consuming. The final products were not only a beautiful sight, but were bursting with flavor. The truffles were not too sweet and the various flavors in each truffle were complimentary. The use of plastic molds, spray glosses, and a variety of shapes has come a long way from the days of rolling round ones by hand. After the demonstration, Chef Racin had a dessert buffet set up with many varieties of truffles and candies. There was such a bounty, and the wait-staff brought out containers to take the delectable treats home.  I would like to thank Chefs Keith Coughenour, William Racin, and Kodi Mikiewicz and Dining Room Manager Tom Wahl of the Duquesne Club for creating such an interesting meeting.

Special thanks to Lisa Beiswenger, our webmaster, who livestreamed the demonstration on Facebook. Within 30 minutes there were over 225 views!! This is the first of our livestreamed presentations, and I hope we’ll see many more. She has it posted on our website and also on YouTube (https://youtu.be/B-j8BtIjTmA).

We also started the process of opening up nominations for the Board of Directors. All Officers and 4 board members positions are open. Jeff Whyle is the committee chairman for the elections.

Chef Inzinga will be having our bi-monthly “Anything Goes” competition. This month’s competition will be “Knife Skills” hosted by Chef Norman Hart of Pittsburgh Technical College. The competition will be sponsored by Cappi Hilyard of Dexter / Chef Revival.  Please contact Chef Inzinga at ainzinga@ccac.edu for further information.

Our November meeting will be at Mac & Tozz in Bridgeville, Chef Randy Tozzi’s new adventure. This meeting will be the last of the year, so it will be our social event.

Finally, I have to mention that our annual picnic was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.

 

Fraternally,

Rikk Panzera, CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

August 2017

The AAC New Inductees.  Image from the Official ACF Flickr.  More photos available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157684256086603

The AAC New Inductees.  Image from the Official ACF Flickr.  More photos available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157684256086603

2017 Student Competition from the OfficialACF Flickr.  More images can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157684100329943

2017 Student Competition from the OfficialACF Flickr.  More images can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157684100329943

The 2017 Baron H. Galand Knowledge Bowl Competition.  Photo from the Official ACF Flickr.  More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157670753364232

The 2017 Baron H. Galand Knowledge Bowl Competition.  Photo from the Official ACF Flickr.  More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157670753364232

The 2017 Pastry Chef of the Year Competition.  From the Official ACF Flickr.  More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157684070235823/with/36140461275/

The 2017 Pastry Chef of the Year Competition.  From the Official ACF Flickr.  More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/albums/72157684070235823/with/36140461275/

Hello Everyone,

            I hope everyone is having a great summer. It’s been wet to say the least, but still a good one so far.  Before I talk about the conference, the next General meeting will be held at the Duquesne Club on 28 August at 7:00 pm.  There will be a Pastry Presentation by William Racin the club's Exec. Pastry Chef. There will be Hors D’ Oeuvres and a cash bar prior to the presentation and a dessert buffet after. Please remember to dress appropriately business casual is required. No jeans, sneakers, or tee shirts. Parking & club entrance is on the 6th floor of the Liberty Ave garage.  

As I mentioned in my last letter, the ACF National Conference was held in Orlando at Disney Worlds Coronado Springs Resort, 09-13 July.  The accommodations were very comfortable and the weather was HOT & HUMID!

The conference started with hands on classes through out the day. These have an added expense added to them.  A few of these classes were: Fruit & Vegetable Carving, Ice Carving for Food and Beverage display, Authentic Peruvian Cuisine, ServSafe Managers Course, to name a few. The welcome reception that night was a very nice array of action and stationary stations. It was a time to meet new friends and see a few older ones.  

The conference was filled with many seminars, demos, and lectures all day from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.  The Opening Session was the usual 8:00-12:00 with three presenters: Emily Ellyn, Lorena Garcia, and Francisco Migoya.  Emily Ellyn shared her culinary journey which inspired her passion for food. Lorena Garcia, who is a Venezuelan born chef, Johnson & Wales Grad, restaurateur, and author, talked about traditional complex Latin cuisine and making it healthier. She also talked about “Big Chef, Little Chef, a non-profit program to help children and their families take control of their eating habits.  Francisco Migoya ModernistCuisines head chef discussed the innovative work that went the book Modernist Bread.  He showed and talked about the extensive research & development process as well as sharing the science and history of bread as well as the techniques and ingredients that will shape its future.  

Along with the great seminars, there was the business part as well. Budget and policy discussions and by-law word changes were among the topics covered.

Other seminars included Floridian Cuisine with Norman Van Aken, Finding time for Health, Fitness, & Future with Charles Carroll CEC, AAC and Eric the Trainer, Hollywood Physique Expert (who has ties to Pittsburgh). They discussed how to incorporate health and fitness into a daily routine. Andrew Nutter CCE, CCC of IUP discussed how to plan your career. Rich Rosendale talked about the importance of reinvention of your food and yourself. John Noble Masi, talked about treating your customers like guests and personalizing their experiences.

Other seminars included; allergen awareness, Savory Sauces Fruit inspired BBQ sauces, Bee Keeping, The New Healthcare Foodservice, Savor the Flavor by Costa Magoulas CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, The Efficient Innovative Kitchen by Poly Science Culinary.

There was also the Jr. Culinary Team Competition, Knowledge Bowl Competition, National Chef of the Year, National Pastry Chef of the Year, and ACF Culinary Team 2020 Team Tryouts, as well as the ACF Trade show.

All in all I wish I could have seen more, but it’s impossible. On a personal note, the highlight for me was the AAC induction and Ceremony. I was truly humbled by the experience. 

Thank you,

Rikk Panzera, CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

           

July 2017

Chef Byron Bardy, Chef Scott Burkhart, Chef Richard Chene, Jeffery Whyle, and Chef Cindy Tuite

Chef Byron Bardy, Chef Scott Burkhart, Chef Richard Chene, Jeffery Whyle, and Chef Cindy Tuite

Chefs Bill Hunt and Art Inzinga

Chefs Bill Hunt and Art Inzinga

Some of the student members in the Next Gen Council

Some of the student members in the Next Gen Council

ACFPC President Rikk Panzera

ACFPC President Rikk Panzera

Hello Everyone,

Happy 4th of July to you all! I hope you’ve had a happy and safe holiday weekend. The weather gods were good to us and we had more sun than rain, which was great for the picnics.

On Monday 26 June, Chef Cindy Tuite and Bidwell Training Center hosted our meeting. Chef Bello did a wine and barbecue paring. Chef Buskey and students from Bidwell prepared the food for the tasting. There were 25 – 30 attendees. Thank you all for your help!

We also had our second meeting of the Next Gen Council. It was attended by 9 council members and 7 Board members. The Board members were impressed with the council member’s desire to keep the ACF an important part of our professional lives. The discussion centered how the council can assist in recruiting additional culinarians to become interested in the ACFPC. As we’ve mentioned in the past, this is a time when we need to embrace new ways of attracting additional members. It was interesting to watch; as we sat there talking about the importance of getting information out to our culinary community some of the council were on their phones sending out information they were discussing. This is what we need to keep us alive and well. Thank you council members for your belief in our organization and especially the ACFPC. Chef’s Bello and Buskey are the co-chairs of the committee. If anyone has any questions about the council, please contact either chef. I was pleased to see and hear the positive interaction and conversation.

As a reminder, there will not be a general meeting in July. Our next meeting will be 28 August. More information, including where it will be held will be forth coming.

The ACF National Conference in Orlando is being held July 9-13. I’ll be attending and representing our chapter at the Board of Governors meeting. It also marks a special date for Johan Meinke CEC and me. We will be inducted into the American Academy of Chefs. This marks a milestone for the both of us. As any AAC member knows, it’s a long time coming. Thank you to Chefs Richard Chene CEC, AAC and Tim Tain CEC, CCE, AAC who sponsored Johan and Art Inzinga CEC, CCE, AAC and Byron Bardy CMC, AAC who sponsored me. I also have to thank my mentor and very good friend of over 35 years, Fritz Sonnenschmidt CMC, AAC for his support and guidance throughout my career.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy Independence Day.

Fraternally,

Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE
ACFPC President