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:

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:

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. 

Rikk Panzera CEC, CCE, AAC
ACFPC President