December 2018

Photo of attendees at the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter Live Jazz Brunch at the Renaissance Hotel.  Photo courtesy of Scout Burkhart.

Photo of attendees at the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter Live Jazz Brunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Photo courtesy of Scout Burkhart.

Greetings Everyone,

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and had time to spend with your family and friends. This November was a good month for us. As you know on November 11th, we had our first annual Jazz Brunch at the Renaissance Hotel. This was a fundraiser for the ACFPC. Donato Coluccio F&B Director, Exec Chef Nick Saxon, Catering Director Annamarie Turi, and the rest of the staff did a fantastic job. Extra help for the service were 5 students from Bidwell Training Center: Richard Fennell, John Moreno, Riley Reffner, Brianna Sherman, & Eli Wilkins. They worked with the kitchen staff preparing the items at the various stations.  This was the first time any of them worked in any type of food service environment. Each was assigned to a station and worked with the cooks in charge. Each student took ownership of their responsibilities and did a wonderful job.  There were many compliments on how nice it was to have the students involved and to have a different gathering instead of a formal dinner. The music was center stage and Mark Jankovic & Friends were great! I spoke to Mark afterwards, and he said they truly enjoyed playing for us and were impressed with the food and the interaction they had with the guests.

After the guests left, the students finally sat down to eat and Chef Buskey and I sat with them and asked what they thought. Each student had big smiles on their faces and were proud of what they did. They talked about how they enjoyed the experience and could not wait to help at another function. As I watched and listened to them, a few said they’ve never experienced anything like that before and could not believe they actually did it! As a teacher and knowing these students as I do, I felt a sense of joy for them. As we thought of all the work and time the committee and the hotel staff put in for the chapter and our students, we realized this is what it’s all about. Talk about giving back a 100fold.  Thank you is not enough! All Brian and I had to do was to listen to them to know it was well worth the effort. 

November’s Social Meeting at Bak’n in Warrendale.  Photo courtesy of Scott Burkhart.

November’s Social Meeting at Bak’n in Warrendale. Photo courtesy of Scott Burkhart.

Our general meeting was held last Monday 26 Nov. It was our end of the year social meeting. Prior to the festivities, we had to take care of our business and close the nominations for Chef of the Year. Chef Will Racin CEPC, Exec Pastry Chef at the Duquesne Club and Chef Brian Buskey ACFPC V.P. and Catering Chef at Bidwell Training Center are the two candidates. Chef Andrea Schrenk CEC, CCE, AAC spoke on Chef Racin’s behalf and I spoke for Chef Buskey. Both chefs are well deserving of this prestigious award. This will be a hard vote! You can learn more about the chefs' accomplishments on the ACFPC website here:

 Randy Tozzi, Exec Chef & owner of Bak’n Restaurant in Warrendale and Carnegie opened the doors and welcomed us as he always does, with plenty of great food, a lot of bacon, and Happy Hour priced drinks. Randy talked about his background and the road to developing Bak’n. We had a few visitors and a few friends we haven’t seen in a while join us which is always a great thing, with a total of 32-35 in attendance. The evening was pleasant, and everyone had a nice time. The weather was not in our favor, and it may have kept a few people away.

As you know, there will not be a general meeting in December. Our January meeting will be held on Monday, January 28, 2019 at the Pittsburgh Field Club hosted by Chef Paul O’ Toole CEC, AAC. Chef Thomas Macrina CEC, CCA, AAC past ACF National President will talk about his travels with the ACF Culinary Olympic team to the World Culinary Competition in Luxemberg which took place over Thanksgiving.  This will certainly be an interesting meeting. The team’s progress was followed on the ACF National website and our Facebook page as well. I hope you had a chance to see some to the displays they did.  More information to follow.

Finally, on behalf of the ACFPC Board of Directors and myself I’d like wish all of you a Happy Holiday and a fantastic New Year. See you in 2019! 

Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President