May 20, 2019 - Kuntz's Pork and Rational CombiOvens at CORE Group

When: May 20, 2019, 7:00pm
Where: CORE Group
294 W. Steuben St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

For our May meeting, we were hosted by Mike Rykaceski from Sesco. There was a presentation by Kuntz’s Pork from Lancaster, PA on their products & processing. They do not raise their hogs. Instead, they purchase them from farmers and require specific weight and sizes. This helps in the consistency of the final product and it shows. The flavor of the various styles of bacon was great.

There was also presentation by Rational CombiOvens. The versatility of these machines is amazing. They are computerized and can roast, bake, braise, and grill all at the same time. Fantastic!! There’s as oven size for any restaurant, hotel, club, school, or resort. Thanks Mike for inviting us to your wonderful test kitchen.

April 29, 2019 - Bob Lilko at Bidwell

When: April 29, 2019, 7:00pm
Where: Bidwell Training Center
815 Metropolitan Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

At the meeting, Bob Lilko, ACF Associate Member and representative of the Juice Plus+/Tower Garden Company, will be presenting/discussing applications for gardens in professional culinary settings, highlighting and demonstrating the Tower Garden, an aeroponic method of gardening.

March 25, 2019 - Sustainable Gardening at Montour Country Club

Last Monday, our March general meeting was held at Montour Country Club. Our guest speaker was Dr. Richard J. Mills Ph.D. from Robert Morris University. His presentation was on sustainable farming and food technologies. Dr. Mills brought personal experience caring for his farm across the street from the club, a farm he grew up on.  He’s grown a variety of vegetables throughout the years and raises some animals for consumption. The name of the farm is Roselea Farm. Robert Mowery is the owner of Forever Heart Farm. He and Dr Mills work together in a barter system for the items that they can trade with each other to help keep costs down. Some of these items are feed products for Dr. Mills and manure he composts for Mr. Mowery for his vegetables. The system works well.

There was also a presentation by Amy Logston, Exec Director of Autism Speaks Pittsburgh. Amy spoke about the annual Dine-In Charity Night Gala on Thursday 21 November 2019 to benefit the local chapter. The participating chefs are pared with a unique individual. The chef will get to know the individual, what that person likes and create tastings based on their food choice. The average number of guests is around 300, and this year they are hoping it reach 400! The foods are not necessarily complicated or exotic by any means. I went to a meeting last Thursday that Amy hosted at SoHo on the Northside. There were about 20 attendees. John Selick CEC, CCA, WCEC ACF Cleveland President, and a 10-year veteran of this event, Tim Fetter CEC ACF Laural Highlands President, and I were in attendance.  It was great to get together with other chapter presidents and chefs to and discuss working together on a common cause over a beverage and hors d’ oeuvres. If you are interested, Amy can be reached at

After Dr. Mills and Amy’s presentations, the club provided a few nicely prepared hors d’ oeuvres. There was also a cash bar.  At the end of the evening, both presenters were pleased at the amount of inquiries they had and spoke to many of the members.

February 18, 2019 - Anything Goes Layer Cake Competition at CCAC

At the February monthly meeting of the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter, we had 5 students enter the “Anything Goes” competition. The theme of the competition was Decorated layer cakes. Entering the competition were:

  • Kathleen Garland, Bidwell Training Center (Chocolate Strawberry Dream with Chocolate Ganache)

  • Richard Grabowski, Bidwell Training Center (Black Forest Cake)

  • Ian McVaugh, CCAC Culinary (Orange, Cardamom, Vanilla Layer Cake with Italian Buttercream)

  • Trang Nguyen, CCAC Culinary (Chocolate Carrot Cake with Italian Buttercream)

  • Rebekah Shumsky, CCAC Culinary (White Vanilla Almond Cake with Raspberries)

The competition was judged by Chefs Kodi Mikiewicz and Randy Herbe, along with the sponsor of this month’s competition - Cappi Hilyard from Dexter Cutlery - who provided the prizes for the winners.


Results of the competition:

1st Place - Trang Nguyen, CCAC Culinary - Chocolate Carrot Cake with Italian Buttercream
2nd Place - Ian McVaugh, CCAC Culinary - Orange, Cardamom, Vanilla Layer Cake with Italian Buttercream
3rd Place - Richard Grabowski, Bidwell Training Center - Black Forest Cake


January 28, 2019 - Chef Tom Macrina at the Pittsburgh Field Club

We’re started off 2019 with the January 28th meeting at the Field Club in Pittsburgh. The meeting was hosted by Exec Chef Paul O’Toole CEC, AAC.

Chef Tom Macrina CEC, AAC, past National President, presentated on the 2018 Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup Competition over the Thanksgiving holiday. As we were feasting on turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie the ACF National Culinary Olympic team was representing our organization and country in the World Competition during the EXPOGAST Trade Show in Luxembourg. The team competed against 29 other countries in this World chefs recognized event. The ACF has competed in the World Cup since 1982. This event is held every four (4) years and traditionally serves as the half-way point in the team’s journey to the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), also known as the “Culinary Olympics” in Erfurt, Germany, which will take place in 2020.

Chef Reimund Pitz CEC, CCE, AAC team manager said, “The wisdom and experience of our leaders, combined with the skills and dedication or our team members and ACF’s heritage will be the key to success and position the U.S. for recognition among international peers”.

More than 750 chefs represented over 50 countries competed in both team and individual competitions during the five (5) day event. Along with the National Team, Regional Team, and Youth team from the culinary program at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The regional team will compete against 45 regional teams and the Youth team will compete against 15 national junior teams.  

November 26, 2018 - Social Meeting at Bak'n in Warrendale

Our general meeting was held Monday, Nov. 26th. 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!

 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.

November 11, 2018 - LIVE JAZZ BRUNCH

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, we hosted a live jazz brunch featuring the music of Mark Jackovic and Friends. The amazing menu included an egg station, salad station, bread station, sweets station, and carving station with Apple Cider Braised Sunday Ham and Bourbon Maple Glazed Angus Reserve 30 Day Aged Prime Rib. View the full menu here.

The event benefited ACFPC and our young culinarians. 

ACFPC would like to thank ACF member Donato Coluccio CEC, F&B Director, his staff at the Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburgh, and the Chaine des Rotisseurs for their gracious support. 

October 29, 2018 - McElhaney Farm, sponsored by the PA Beef Council

October General Meeting

When: Monday, October 29, 2018
Time: 4:00-8:00pm
Where: McElhaney Farm
             149 Pittsburgh Grade Road
             Hookstown, PA 15050

On Monday 29 Oct our monthly meeting was hosted at the McElhaney Family Farm in Hookstown.  Nichole Hockenberry, marketing director of The Pennsylvania Beef Council, sponsored the meeting. This is truly a family run farm. Everyone from grandparents, to grandchildren, aunts, and uncles work on the farm. The evening started with a short welcome from the McElhaney family, and we were then treated to a tractor ride and the workings of the farm were discussed. We learned how the herd is fed and watered and when they are moved to various areas of the farm to allow the grass to grow.  The farm is very efficient and recycles everything possible. Rainwater is collected in the same area as where the herd is fed. The manure is collected so it doesn’t run into the ecosystem and it is used for fertilizer.  The herd consists of 50 females & 50 calves as well as the bulls and cows for breeding. The total acreage of the farm is 100 acres, not big by western farm standards.

The family also raises hay on neighboring farms. The hay is bailed, wrapped, and stored for cold weather use. Another interesting note is cattle do not spend any time indoors. They prefer is spend their days outside in all types of weather. The layers of fur don’t allow water or cold to affect them.

Following our hayride, a very nice buffet dinner was served. It featured braised brisket and BBQ beef, along with vegetables, salad, and desserts.

Dr. Sara Place, Ph. D. of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association gave a presentation explaining how many farms, especially smaller ones, are raising their cattle in a more healthy environment, and as we know, this leads to a much better product for us.

The last surprise of the night was a gift of 2 leather knife rolls donated to the ACFPC for our annual auction. The knife rolls were made by a former student of mine, Ryan Moore. Ryan is the owner and craftsman of Ram Leatherworks. Ryan is a graduate of WCCC and worked for Parkhurst dining until starting this venture. He also works with his fiancé Christine in a chocolate business she is developing. We wish both of them much success.

Tentative Schedule:

4:00 pm — 4:30 pm        Arrive at McElhaney Family Farm & Check-in and Registration

4:30 pm — 4:45 pm         Welcome & Get Acquainted with the Beef Checkoff, Nichole Hockenberry, PA Beef Council

4:45 pm — 5:45 pm        Farm Tour/Meet and Greet with McElhaney Family

5:45 pm — 6:30 pm        Dinner and Dessert at the McElhaney Family Farm

6:30 pm — 7:15 pm         Beef Industry Panel Discussion. Panel will include a Veterinarian, Producer, Beef Nutritionist.

7:15 pm— 7:45 pm          Chef Sharing- Sharing their experience with the value add of buying direct from PA Beef Producers & sharing the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) message, Martin Thomas CEC, Executive Chef, Sewickley Heights Golf Club

7:45pm—8:00pm             Wrap-up Discussion & Depart from Farm

August 27, 2018 - The Olive Tap

When: Monday, August 27, 2018
Time: 7:00pm
Where: The Olive Tap
             108 19th Street "in the Strip"
             Pittsburgh, PA 15222

On Monday, August 27, 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, Chef Rikk Panzera 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.