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.

June 25, 2018 - Goat Rodeo Farms at Treesdale Golf & Country Club

This meeting featured a presentation by Goat Rodeo Farms and an Anything Goes Competition highlighting goat cheese hors d'oeuvres with cheese produced by Goat Rodeo Farms.

Goat Rodeo Farm and Dairy sponsored the June meeting. The Anything Goes Competition for the month of June focused on hors d’ oeuvre prepared with their goat cheese. Goat Rodeo Farm agreed to provide their fresh chevre goat cheese for the competition.  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.

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.

Competitors had the choice of what type of Hors d’ oeuvre they served. Contestants brought 2 dozen pieces on a serving tray to the meeting which were judged by senior members of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACF.  Hors d’ oeuvre were judged on overall appearance, flavor, and texture.

Meeting guests had a chance to sample the Hors d’ oeuvre after the entrants have been judged.

May 21, 2018 - Common Plea Catering, presentation by Keith Martin of Elysian Fields Farms

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.

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.

April 30, 2018 - Allegheny Country Club, Anything Goes Petit Fours Competition


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.

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.

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.

March 26, 2018 - Concept Foods/Core Group presentation on Menu Profitability

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.


March 11, 2018 - ACFPC Annual Awards Gala

On Sunday, March 11, ACFPC held our Annual Awards Gala at St. Clair Country
Club. At the gala, we celebrated some of the people who make our organization great.

  • Our Supporter of the Year is Bidwell Training Center.

  • Cindy Tuite introduced the winners of the William Foust Educational Scholarship:

    Richard Grabowski and Conner Capozoli

  • Chef Norman Hart was awarded the highest honor of the night, Chef of the Year.


At the reception, our palates were delighted with Tuna Tartar on Lotus Chip, PB&J Pork Belly, Polenta with Gorgonzola Gratin and Fig Jam, and a Deluxe Antipasta and Cheese Display

Dinner was stunningly beautiful, featuring Cauliflower Panna Cotts with Aerated Cauliflower and Fresh Cucumber, Woodland Duxelle Cannelloni with Marchand de Vin Cause and Pecorino, a Brioche “Twinkie” with Caesar Romaine and Truffle- Mascarpone Mousse, and Pacotized Golden Pineapple with Ginger Fizz and Macerated Pineapple. We also had a choice of entrees

  • Beef Duo with Butter Roasted Tenderloin of Angus Beef, Braised Short Rib, Truffle Arancini, Slow Cooked Carrot, Silky Fennel, Tomato Jam, Mushroom Fricassee, and Jus Lie

  • Cedar Wood Halibut with Lemon Aioli, Root Celery Gratin, Dilled Frisee and Smoked Bacon Salad, and Crispy Egg Yolk

  • Paupiette of Eggplant with Herbed Farmer’s Cheese, Toasted Quinoa Crunch, Grilled Asparagus, Mushroom and Squash Ragu, Saffon Rissoto, and Carrot Flan.

We ended the night with a Chocolate Praline Bomb with Hazelnut Chiffon, Chocolate Meringue, Linzer Sable, Frangelico Crème Anglaise, and Fresh Raspberry.

The evening was also included fundraiser for the Chef William Foust Educational Scholarship which benefits the future generation of chefs and a Chef’s Market filled with delightful treats from local businesses and chefs.

We would like to thank St. Clair Country Club, Chef Shawn Culp, Chef Brian Buskey, Jill Kummer, and all of the sponsors for the evening: Paragon, BreakThru Beverage Group, US Foods, Mastro Ice, Chefs Warehouse, Reinhart Foodservice, Weiss Meats, and Euclid Fish.

Photographs provided by Kathleen Garland, Jill Kummer, Valerie Njie, and Lisa Beiswenger


February 19, 2018 - Chef George M. Sideras from Minor's at CCAC

At this informative meeting, Chef George M. Sideras, CEC, AAC, HGT, presented on the science of flavor.  Chefs, Evolutionary Biologists, Anthropologists, and Food Scientists are at the forefront of our understanding of the science behind flavors with the studying of neurogastronomy. The presentation and short demonstrations will break flavor down into its component parts, explaining step by step the science behind what we taste and experience when we bite into an ingredient. This methodology will provide the attendee to be better able to build more impactful dishes ,train more effectively and bring a new sensibility into menu development. The night will provide insight into how ingredients can be successfully paired when we understand the science behind the flavor.

At the February monthly meeting of the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter, we had 8 students
enter the “Anything Goes” competition. The theme of the competition was Dessert
cheesecakes. Entering the competition were:

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

The competition was judged by Chefs, Carl Fazio, ACF North East Region “Pastry
Chef of the Year”Will Racin, and Andrea Schrenk.

Results of the competition:
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

Thank you to all of the competitors and judges!

Photos by Jill Kummer.


November 27, 2017 - Mac & Toz Alehouse in Bridgeville

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.