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: .  The last day to purchase a ticket is Tuesday, March 6.  No tickets will be available to purchase at the door.

Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President