September 2018

Greetings everyone,

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer, and that you had time to spend with family and friends. Now that the summer season has wound down and we are moving into cooler weather, we’ll now start to find some relief of our unusual 90° weather. We’ll start to harvest our wonderful fall vegetables and fruit. This time of the year brings back many memories of growing up in the Hudson Valley. The apple orchards were busy with workers picking the many varieties of apples just outside my door. I would go outside and talk to the men. They knew my parents and me, and I would bring them water and my mother always had something cooking as well. In return, they would let me fill grocery bags with apples, which my mother quickly turned into apple pie and applesauce or we brought them to my family in Brooklyn. The farm tractors and trailers loaded with wooden crates of apples went back and forth as they traveled to the processing cooler to be washed and bagged for sale. It’s also a time to change menus and add a few hardier items. Game & root vegetables usually make their way to a menu to take the place of lighter salads.

Last Monday, we held our general meeting at the Olive Tap in the Strip. We had a brief reception and discussion upstairs at a new restaurant called PA Market. The theme of the restaurant is similar to an incubator concept except established chefs will fill the small space to prepare their foods. Each will be different and there will also be a catering department as well. Executive Chef Chef Gaetano Ascione I.C.M.C. has a wide and varied background as well as being a Chef/Instructor at the CIA.

Hersh Petrocelly, owner of the Olive Tap, gave a presentation on the growing, production, and grading of olive oil and the production of balsamic vinegar. We tasted olive oils & balsamic vinegars from various countries and the U.S. He explained how the color of the oils influence the quality and flavor. And talked about the types of grapes used in the production of balsamic and what is truly an aged balsamic and how to prove its age. We had the opportunity to purchase these items as well. The presentation was very informative and enlightening.

At the beginning of the meeting, I introduced our new ACFPC Secretary, Alyssa Rose. Alyssa was welcomed by the Board and the attending members at the meeting. Alyssa is a cook at the Duquesne Club and comes highly recommended.

Our 24 September general meeting will be at Bidwell Training Center. There will be a presentation on the updates from the PLCB. There will also be an Anything Goes Competition.  The subject is Knife Cuts. Information about the competition, including how to enter, is available here: https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/anything-goes-competition/

As a reminder, the 29 October meeting will be at McElhaney Family Farm in Hookstown, PA. this meeting will start early because there will be a tour of the farm and a presentation by the PA beef Council. Compete information is available here: https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/upcoming-events/

Finally, I would like to thank Chef Buskey for setting up our meeting, as well as Chef Ascione and Hersh Petrocelly for opening their doors for our meeting. I’m sure we’ll see more of these gentlemen at our meetings. 

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

August 2018

Hello everyone,

I hope your summer is going well. Even though we did not have a general meeting in July, it was still quite busy and exciting. First, July 14-19 I was in New Orleans at the ACF National Conference. What a great time! It was reported that this year was the largest National conference in 10 years! There was an added treat to the conference: The Chaine des Rotisseurs and the American Academy of Chefs joined forces and created the “Dinner of the Century”. The dinner was spearheaded by John Folse and was held at the Royal Sonessta Hotel in the French Quarter. It was a very nice dinner in a grand old hotel. The hotel is also home to Chef Folse's restaurant, R'evolution. We went to dinner there the next evening and had another great time!

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The conference started with none other than Chef John Folse being the opening speaker. He discussed his humble beginnings living in a trapper’s cabin on the bayou in rural St James Parish and becoming one of the nation’s leading culinary entrepreneurs. He has taken his famous “Taste of Louisiana” around the world, from London to Hong Kong and from Moscow to the Vatican. His journey from harvesting food from the Louisiana’s swamp and staying true to who he is has made him sought after by five US Presidents as well as Pope John Paul II. He is also an author and has a local TV series. I did meet him, and we spoke for a few minutes. He truly is inspiring. In the 1990’s or early 2000’s, he was the ACF National President. During his presentation there was a slide of him at a podium and in the background was the ACFPC flag. He stopped by to visit and speak to the chapter. 

The one highlight of the conference was the competitions, but the most important one was the Pastry Chef of the Year. William Racin CEPC of the Duquesne Club (with the help of his assistant Kodi Mikeiwicz) won the competition. To me, a mark of a true professional is making a complicated dish or centerpiece look simple.  Congratulations to Will and Kodi for representing our chapter.

There were many other presentations, one by Masaharu Morimoto.  He fabricated a 350# Tuna! It took him and his assistant to turn it! Some of the other seminars were Modern Filipino Sig Sig, a dish made pigs head, liver, and sour vinegar by  Eric Ernest, CEC, CCA of USC Culinary Hospitality, Desserts & Pastries, redefined Dacquoise by Michael Mignano of the Pierre hotel. There were many competitions including professional teams, junior teams, individuals, as well as Knowledge Bowl. WCCC won a Silver medal and had a very good showing, holding strong throughout.

There were meetings to attend and of course the trade show.   All and all it was a busy time but a good one.

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Finally, there were 18 of us from Pittsburgh who went to a restaurant called DTB (Down the Bayou). The restaurant’s Chef John Hill and Pastry Chef Jessica Shoemaker are former students of Chef Inzinga’s, Chef Scott Schmucker, and myself. This was truly one of the best meals of the week. And of course, we also indulged in Coffee and Beignets at Café Du Mond.

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The ACFPC Picnic was held on Sunday 20 July at Turner’s Dairy Farm. It was a joint picnic with the Laurel Highlands Chapter. About 60 – 70 family and friends attended. This was made possible through the work of Chef Brian Buskey. Thank you for all the hard work you did.

Our next meeting will be on August 27 at 7:00pm at The Olive Tap, 108 19th Street "in the Strip". More information will follow.

See you soon,
Rikk Panzera, CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

July 2018

Greetings everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all in a summer frame of mind. Now that school is out, many of you will be going on family vacations. Take this time to enjoy your family. Relax and enjoy this time because when you return to work you will be as busy and as crazy as summer always gets. We’ve all heard this on the news, but I would like to remind you since our weather has been more than hot make sure anytime you spend outdoors, keep yourself hydrated and covered from the sun. It does not take long for our bodies to become dehydrated and it will happen long before you realize it. Also, if you have elderly family, friends, and neighbors check on them and monitor young children’s outdoor activity as well.

Last Monday, our meeting was at Treesdale Country Club in Gibsonia. Steve Lovener owner of Goat Rodeo Farm and Dairy did a wonderful presentation on his farm and the cheese making process. His slideshow and discussion on the procedure was very informative and, at times, humorous.

I would like to thank Joe Conver, G.M. for hosting the meeting and Joe Elliot Exec. Chef for preparing a very nice Hors D’ Oeuvre tasting. There was also an Anything Goes Competition which was sponsored by Goat Rodeo Farm. The theme was Goat Cheese Hors D’ Oeuvres. There were three competitors: Annamaria Esplen (Bidwell Training Center), Richard Grabowski (Bidwell Training Center), and Conner Capozoli (Duquesne Club). The competition was judged by Chefs John King and Johan Meinke who were joined by Steve Loevner, owner of Goat Rodeo Farm. Everyone did a very nice job. Annamaria won first place, Conner won second place, and Richard won third. Thank you to the judges and competitors.

As a reminder, there will not be a general meeting in July. We will have our annual family picnic at Turner’s Dairy Farm in Slicksville. The directions are on the ACPFC website. This year, we’ll be joined by Chef Tim Fetter, President of the Laurel Highlands ACF Chapter and his members. We’ve also invited the Punxsutawney ACF Chapter as well.  I’m hoping we’ll have a great turnout. Chef Buskey and I went to the farm last month to take a look at it, and it is certainly in the country. There is a large pavilion, two ponds, (so bring fishing poles), volleyball, and horseshoes areas. Please feel free to bring any outdoor games you may have, there’s plenty of room to spread out.

The food will be prepared by 2 graduates of Bidwell Training Center, Mark Zigler and Jolando Hinton, along with a little help from our friends. Most of the food was donated by many of our purveyor/supporters.

Our August meeting will be at Olive & Tap on Monday, August 27, 2018. More information will be posted on our website.

As many of you have noticed we’ve been posting meeting information on our website and sending meeting announcements through Constant Contact. Starting this month, we will continue to inform you of our meetings and functions in this manner. Please don’t forget to check your emails for our meeting dates and locations. Also, if you have changed your email or home address please contact me so I can have it changed in our database so you will not have a disruption in your notices.

Finally, last week one of our long-time members Jeffery, fell from a ladder while cleaning the gutters and was hurt quite badly. He is at home and will require lots of rest and possibly some rehab. Please keep him your thoughts. We all wish him a fast and full recovery.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

 

June 2018

Good morning everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all well. It seems like the weather went from cold to hot quickly and the seasons are not changing in the way they used to! I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. Now that the official start of the summer season is here, many of you have started gearing-up for this busy time of year. There will be many parties, golf outings, picnics, and most likely weddings you’ll have to contend with. Along with that, a little travel. I hope you’ll find time to be with family as well.

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Our May general meeting was held on Monday the 21st at Common Plea Catering’s corporate offices on Penn Ave. Exec Chef Adam Gooch was kind enough to host the meeting, and he held nothing back. It was easy to see why Common Plea is one of the best caterers in Pittsburgh.  The facilities are newly renovated and have a show room on street level. They had stations set-up with hot and cold tastings along with freshly made ice cream.

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Keith Martin, owner of Elysian Fields Farms gave a descriptive timeline of how their lambs go from the raising & feeding to how it reaches our tables. I must say the quality of their product is superior and this is backed by the best restaurants, hotels, and clubs in the country that use Elysian Fields Lamb. Keith also mentioned they will be starting a program with the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

The June Meeting will be held at Treesdale Country Club. The presentation will be held by Goat Rodeo Farms. It will also be an Anything Goes competition. This month will be Hors D’ Oeuvres featuring Goat Rodeo Cheese. Please go the website (https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/anything-goes-competition/) or Chef Art Inzinga for further information.  

The ACF National Conference will be held in New Orleans, LA form 15 – 19 July. If you are planning on going, you’ll need to hurry and make your reservations. It looks like it’s going to be a great conference.

Our ACFPC picnic will be held at Turners Farm lakes in Slicksville, PA on Sunday 22 July. There will be plenty for all to do. We’ll have lawn games and fishing in one of the two (2) lakes. We’ll post directions on the website (http://acfpittsburgh.org). As a reminder, July will not have a general meeting. Our next one will be in August at the Olive and Tap Room.  More information will follow.

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The last thing I would like to mention is that the ACFPC has lost one of our industry's finest members. L. Edwin Brown, HAAC, HHOF passed away on 25 May 2018. We posted the ACF’s message on our website. Uncle Ed, as he liked to be called, was responsible for the ACF’s first apprenticeship program at CCAC, which many of our chefs and chef/instructors are graduates of.  I remember the first time I met him, I knew who he was, but I had not met him.  Chef Inzinga and I were in Rochester, NY at the ACF NE Conference. Art introduced me to him, and he greeted me as if we were friends.  We spoke for a while. It was an honor to finally meet him. From that point, whenever we saw each other, he would say hello with a hand shake and a hug. He would always find time to ask how the ACFPC was doing and he wanted to know when our annual picnic was so he could come. He was the kind of person who not only cared about you, but if he knew your family, he would ask about them as well. Our chapter has had some of the finest chefs in the country and still does today. Uncle Ed was a special man, and if you were in his very large circle of friends you can consider yourself a lucky person. The last time I saw him was in St Augustine, FL at the 2017 National convention. I was inducted into the AAC and Uncle Ed sat at our table.  What a privilege!  So, Uncle Ed, our toques are off and here’s to you. You are truly a fine gentleman and mentor to many. Thank You.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

May 2018

Greetings Everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy. It seems like April sped by very quickly and May is not moving any more slowly. I’m sure there are plans already in place for the Memorial Day weekend. As usual, the clubs will have their functions, outings, and other special events.  This is usually a time when extra hands are needed, so please feel free to contact me if you are in need of help and I will do my best to help you.

Last Monday, we had our General meeting at Allegheny Country Club. Chef Inzinga presided over the Anything Goes Competition.  There were two contestants for this Petit Fours competition: Jonathan White (a student at WCCC who also works at St Claire CC) and Kathleen Garland. Both did a very nice job.  Jonathan won with a Pate Brisee filled with Cranberry Mousse, Chocolate Ganache mirror, mini baked Meringue, Garnished with Gold spray, Gold ribbon, and Silver Pearl. The judges were Will Racine CEPC and Bill Hunt CEC, CCE, AAC. Thank you everyone for making the competition happen.

 Photo by Jonathan White

Photo by Jonathan White

GM Justin Kolanz and Exec Chef Dustin Bates as well as the rest of the team from Allegheny Country Club welcomed us with open arms at the meeting and provided us with a wonderful evening. We started the evening at 6:30 pm with a few Hors D’ Oeuvres, crab cakes, and miniature tacos. The meeting started with the usual business, then a presentation on sustainable Salmon by Bill Bradford, Marketing Coordinator of Samuels Seafood Co. and Bill Hewitt Sales Manager – East Coast from Verlasso Salmon. Both gentlemen gave an impressive & positive outlook on the future of Salmon. Mr. Hewitt showed a video about the process of producing sustainable salmon takes place in South America off the coast of Patgonia where the waters are much cooler. Verlasso has a farming areas and processing plants right there so the product is kept as fresh as possible without having to freeze it. Thank you gentleman for a wonderfully informative seminar.

 Justin Kolanz at the buffet.  Photo by Kathleen Garland

Justin Kolanz at the buffet.  Photo by Kathleen Garland

There were 48 – 50 in attendance. This was the first time that the meeting was attended by a few members of the Club Managers Association as well. I was happy to see a few new faces, as well as an increase in the general attendance. Everyone seemed impressed and were happy to attend. Other members from Samuels also attended, including Mike Spallato, Sales Representative (local) & Thomas Caruso Vice President of Sales. Both Bill Bradford & Thomas Caruso came in from Philadelphia.

After the presentation, Justin Kolanz and Dustin Bates greeted and thanked the membership for coming. Dustin talked about the buffet he had planned.  Dustin and his staff prepared a buffet with seared salmon, braised short ribs, chicken, and a pasta dish. The food was great and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and having good conversation.  Thank you once again Justin & Dustin for your warm hospitality.

Our next meeting will be on May 21st at Common Plea Caterers in The Strip, hosted by Corp. Exec Chef Adam Gooch. More information will follow.

Lastly, Chef Buskey and I are always looking for new educational and fun things to bring to the meetings. If you have any suggestions on what interests you, please contact Chef Buskey or myself. The 2019 calendar is open so please let us know.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

April 2018

Greetings Everyone,

I hope this letter finds you all in good health and happy. I know many of you had a busy weekend at your businesses; I hope it went smooth and you were able to spend a little quality time with family and friends.

We were approached by the Club Managers' Association with a unique and exciting opportunity to have our 30 April 2018 meeting at the Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley Heights. Our hosts will be Justin Kolance, GM and Dustin Bates, Exec Chef. We will be treated to an al fresco style dinner with fire pits a blaze! There will also be a cash bar. The cost is $30.00 per person. All guests are welcome. (Chefs, this is a good chance to bring your GM to a chef’s meeting)!  Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will start at 6:30pm and the general meeting/presentation at 7:00pm.

The presentation is on Salmon sustainability by William Bradford & Thomas Caruso Samuel & Sons Seafood and Bill Hewitt of Verlasso Salmon.  There will be 1 CEH for the presentation. Their discussion will be on how the oceans are being over fished and how our food supply must become more sustainable to meet our consumption demands. 

Reservations are required and can be made here: https://www.blacktie-america.com/calendar/event-details.cfm?id=1562.  Additional information will posted on the website. For further information, please contact Chef Brian Buskey at (412)709-0330 or email at bbuskey@manchesterbidwell.org

On Sunday, March 11, we held our Annual Gala dinner at St. Clair Country Club. Exec Chef Shawn Culp CEC, WCMC, MBA, his kitchen staff, the dining room staff, and club management did an outstanding job providing us with a wonderful evening. One of the surprises of the evening was the Champagne Wall. You walked up to the wall and a white gloved hand came through a curtained window and handed you a glass of champagne! It was certainly a point of discussion through the evening. The hors d’oeuvres were passed and displayed on a center table with an ACFPC ice carving. The dinner was over the top! The club went out of their way to welcome us and make for one of the best dinners we’ve had in a long time. Everything was expertly presented, and professionally served. 

Along with our William Foust Scholarship Auction, we also had a new addition: A Chef’s Market. There was Duquesne Club Honey & Macarons, Relishes & Salsa from Chef Inzinga, Jam from Chef Meineke, Smoked Black Pepper & Smoked Himalayan Salt from Chef Bardy, Chocolate Bark from Chef Schrenk, Biscotti cookies from Chef Beatty, Sweet & Smokey Rubs from Bidwell, and ACFPC tote bags & tee shirts. The Chef’s Market Display was organized and arranged by Michaelle Buskey with a little help from Brian. The responses we heard about the market was very positive.  I would also like to thank all the various supporters for their auction donations. There were golf packages, knives, uniforms, a quilt, various gift baskets, and more!

Chef of The Year, Norm Hart CEC, CCE, AAC, HOGT thanked the PTC staff and his wife for their support. Our Supporter of The Year was presented to Bidwell Training Center for their unwavering support; accepting the award was Ms. Valerie Njie Exec. Director/ SR. VP.

I would also like to thank the sponsors for helping to make this a memorable evening; US Foods, Paragon, Mastro Ice, Break Thru Beverage Group, Chef’s Warehouse, Reinhart Foodservice, Weiss Meats, and Euclid Fish. Without their contributions, the dinner would have not been possible.

Another first was a Student Table donated by the Chaine des Rotisseurs. There were students from CCAC, PTC, & Bidwell who had a chance to make new friends and share a fine meal.

A very special thank you to the Dinner Committee, without their hard work, the dinner would not have been possible. The Committee is; Chef Byron Bardy, Chef Cindy Tuite, Chef Brian Buskey, and Jill Kummer. This was also the second year we’ve gone to on-line reservations. This has been a wonderful addition in making the dinner more stream-lined. Thank you, Jill for making this possible.

Our March meeting was hosted by Eric Fair of Core Group. The presentation was on “Menu profitability” by Marco Auriti of DeCeccio Pasta and Mike Pierro of Schweid & Sons Meats. Marco discussed and showed power points on how DeCecco prepares the pasta using the local mountain water and flour. He explained where the plant is located, and how the water comes directly from the mountain to the plant. It is then filtered for use. He also mentioned how the pasta is dried and quickly packaged. An interesting note about the product is that you find very little, if any broken pieces and the stability of the product. Meaning that it holds its shape after cooking. Mike discussed how Schweid processes their beef and creates custom ground meat for a wide variety of clients who want their own special mixture. Their product is never frozen and comes in prepared patties at a certain weight per package. There were samples from both and the texture and flavor of the pasta and beef was fantastic.

I’m looking forward to an exciting meeting and a wonderful dinner on Monday, 30 April. I hope to see you there.

 Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC   
ACFPC President

March 2018

Hello Everyone,

Well, just as it looks like the weather is getting better, a Nor-Easter decides come in and chill us once again. I heard a saying many years ago while living in West Stockbridge, Mass. “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute”. I guess it holds true for all snowy regions.

Our February General meeting was held on Monday the 19th at CCAC and hosted by Chef Art Inzinga. George M. Sideras CEC, AAC, HGT Minors Corporate Chef (Minors is a subsidiary of Nestle Professional) did a presentation titled Neurogastronomy 101: The Science of Taste. In short, the presentation gave an overview about the study of flavor perception and the ways it affects how we memorize a food product to its flavor. Neurogastronomy also contributes to food addiction & obesity, taste preferences, and how we communicate and identify flavor. The term neurogastronomy was coined by neuroscientist Gordon M. Sheperd. The presentation was very insightful and at times entertaining. Attendees received 1CEH.          

At this meeting, we also held an Anything Goes Competition. The theme was dessert cheesecakes. We had 8 competitors and there was no lack of good flavor anywhere. The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place all took home cookbooks donated by Chef Sideras. Entering the competition were:

  • 1st place: Ian McVaugh, CCAC Culinary, Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
  • 2nd place: Annamaria Esplen, Bidwell Training Center, Blueberry Crème Fraiche Cheesecake
  • 3rd place: Richard Grabowski, Bidwell Training Center, Strawberry Banana Cheesecake
  • Ed Colon, Fairmont hotel, Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake.
  • Katherine Marshall, CCAC Culinary, Blood Orange Cheesecake
  • Channing Reinhard, CCAC Culinary, Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake
  • Alyce Toombs, CCAC Culinary, New York Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Cameo Moorefield, Self-employed, Bourbon Peach Cheesecake

I’d like to thank Chefs Andrea Schrenk CEPC, CCE, AAC; Will Racin CEPC; & Ruth Beatty CEPC for being the judges. I would also like to congratulate Chef Racin for winning the NE Regional Pastry Chef of the Year. He will go to New Orleans to compete for the National Pastry Chef Competition in July.

Chef Connect was held in Charlotte, NC from 25-27 February. As always there were hands-on workshops and plenty of demonstrations. The opening session speaker was Claus Meyer. Chef Meyer is in the forefront of the Nordic food revolution and is co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen which is considered the “World's Best Restaurant”. He’s also responsible for launching an indigenous food movement in Bolivia. This movement has trained thousands of young people and has developed a sense of pride not only for the food but the people as well. One of his latest endeavors brought him to NYC to open the Michelin-starred Agern and Northern Food Hall in Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Station.

I would also like to mention that Westmorland Community College won the NE Region Knowledge Bowl Competition. They will go onto New Orleans to compete in the National Competition in July as well. Their names are Amanda Shriner, Craig Stahl, & Erin Bertuzzi.  Their coaches are Scott Schmucker PhEd, CEC, CCE and Chris Cswierz CEPC.   

Other demos & presentations I attended were:

 Chef David Burke presenting at Chef Connect

Chef David Burke presenting at Chef Connect

  • "Exploring the Streets of Mexico" presented by Ryan Manning formerly Banquet Chef of the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico now Washington DC.
  • Chef Davis Burke CEO, DB Global LLC NYC Innovator and restaurateur of David Burke Kitchen at the James Hotel, NYC. Chef Burke is owner of various restaurants and steak houses through out the U.S.
  • Appalachian Cuisine by Denny Trantham CEC, CCA, AAC MBA Food Fanatics Chef & Consultant US Foods
  • Pasta Old School vs. New School with Jeff Michaud, Culinary Director, Terrain Café & Exec Chef Osteria Philadelphia
  • Wines & Spirits- Parings for desserts by Brian Hay CEC, CCE & Sommelier Director of Culinary & Wine Institute at Carolina, University of South Carolina
  • All Grain Lunch & Demo by Jason Ziobrowski CEC Corp. Chef, In-Harvest Inc.
  • South West Cuisine by Dean Fearing formally Exec Chef of The Mansion at Turtle Creek Dallas, Texas now owner of Fearing’s at The Ritz Carlton, Dallas. Chef Fearing along with Steven Pyles & Robert Del Grande started what is now known as Southwestern Cuisine.
 Fruit Carving from the Welcome Reception at Chef Connect

Fruit Carving from the Welcome Reception at Chef Connect

Finally, I attended the AAC Dinner at the Myers Park Country Club, Hosted by Jason Hall CMC. Jason is a 1995 Graduate of Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts.

The club is one of Charlotte’s oldest & finest private clubs. It is the recipient of the Platinum Club of America and the Five Star Private Club recognitions.  The Conference was certainly filled with much to do and Charlotte has its share of interesting sights and restaurants to visit.

Our next General meeting will be on Monday 26 March with Core Group/Concept Foods at 7:00pm.

Finally, our Annual Awards Gala will be held on March 11, 5:00pm at St. Clair Country Club.  Please visit our site for more information, including the menu and how to purchase a ticket: https://acf-pittsburgh.squarespace.com/2018-gala .  The last day to purchase a ticket is Tuesday, March 6.  No tickets will be available to purchase at the door.

Fraternally,
Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President

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