Pastry chefs from New York and Pennsylvania face off for a chance at national acclaim
Three pastry chefs will go head-to-head in Verona next month to see who will win the title of American Culinary Federation Northeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá European-Style Butter. The competition takes place at Turning Stone Resort Casino on March 18, during the 2013 ACF Northeast Regional Conference (March 17-20 in Verona). The winner will advance to the national competition in Las Vegas from July 21-25.
The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award recognizes a pastry chef who displays a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field, and has helped educate others by sharing skills and knowledge. At the regional competition, chefs will prepare four portions of a hot/warm dessert. They will have 15 minutes to set up, 60 minutes to cook, 10 minutes to plate the dessert and 15 minutes to clean up. Judges will evaluate cooking skills, taste and professionalism. The winner is announced at the awards gala on March 20.
Here are the 2013 candidates:
Andrew Comey, CEPC, CMB, of Kerhonkson, is executive pastry chef at Diamond Mills Hotel, Saugerties, and his goal is to make the hotel's The Tavern at Diamond Mills a destination spot for Hudson Valley tourists. Comey graduated from The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park) with an associate degree in culinary arts and started as a pastry chef at the Omni Parker House Hotel (Boston). In 1996, he moved to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, as executive pastry chef for Caneel Bay Resort. He was captain of U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Culinary Team, which competes against 18 Caribbean countries annually, and was filmed for PBS "Great Chefs of the Caribbean." In 2000, Comey returned to the U.S. as executive pastry chef at Mohonk Mountain House (New Paltz). He became a certified master baker in 2008. Comey is an ACF national member.
Tammy Lynn Fuchs, CEPC, of New Alexandria, Pa., is executive pastry chef at Rolling Rock Club, (Ligonier, Pa.), where she has worked since 1997. She oversees a staff of three and assists the executive chef with cost control and menu planning. Fuchs graduated from Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) (New Kensington, Pa.), with an associate degree in baking and pastry arts. She has attended classes at The Culinary Institute of America and Carpigiani Gelato University (Winston-Salem, N.C.) Her work experience includes baking/pastry-arts instructor at WCCC and Christopher's Sweet Shop (Murrysville, Pa.), where she was the specialty and wedding cake decorator. Fuchs has won two bronze medals and one silver medal in ACF-sanctioned chapter competitions. In 2008, she received ACF Laurel Highlands Chapter's President's Award, and the chapter's Chef of the Year Award in 2010. She received the Alumni Award of Excellence from WCCC's alumni association in 2009 for outstanding career achievements.
Maria Iacovitti, CEPC, of Buffalo, is a pastry chef instructor at Erie Community College. She works with culinary students to produce baked goods for the school's cafeteria and restaurant. Iacovitti graduated from Niagara County Community College with an associate degree in culinary arts. She is working on a bachelor's degree in business management and economics from Empire State College. Iacovitti has 20 years of industry experience with 10 years specializing in education. Iacovitti's past work experience includes pastry instructor at NCCC and executive pastry chef at The Buffalo Club. In 2008, she helped develop the expansion of the pastry-arts program at NCCC. She has been an inspiration to many of her students, and helped culinary student Lisa Cook get an internship at Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop (Hoboken, N.J.), where TLC films "Cake Boss." Iacovitti is a member of ACF of Greater Buffalo New York.
Hundreds of chefs, foodservice professionals and students will attend this year's culinary conference in Verona. There will be educational seminars, culinary demos, networking and social functions, culinary competitions, meal events and more. For information, visit www.acfchefs.org/events or call 1-800-624-9458. Follow conference happenings on Twitter @ACFChefs or #ACFNE or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ACFChefs.
National and regional sponsors of the 2013 ACF events series are: Alabama Gulf Seafood; Allen Brothers; American Roland Food Corp.; American Technical Publishers; Barry Callebaut; The Beef Checkoff; BelGioioso Cheese Inc.; Campbell Soup Company; Canada Cutlery Inc.; Central Region State Beef Councils; Clemens Food Group; Custom Culinary Inc.; Ecolab; Gordon Food Service; Idaho Potato Commission; Idaho Preferred; Irinox USA; Johnson & Wales University; JTM Food Group; Kentucky Beef Council; Lactalis Foodservice; Maines Paper & Food Service Inc.; McCormick For Chefs; MINOR'S; Mississippi Beef Council; Mississippi Seafood Marketing; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; North Carolina Beef Council; Plugrá European-Style Butter; PreGel AMERICA; R.L. Schreiber Inc.; RC Fine Foods; Riviana Foods; S&D Coffee; Sysco; Tennessee Beef Industry Council; Tyson Food Service; Unilever Food Solutions; Victorinox Swiss Army Inc.; Virginia Beef Industry Council; Vitamix Corporation; Winston Industries LLC; and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the U.S., with the Certified Executive Chef, Certified Sous Chef and Certified Executive Pasty Chef designations - the only culinary credentials accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the U.S. in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity.