Announcing the 2022 ACF National Award Winners

The best chefs in the nation were awarded the highest honors by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) at the 2022 ACF National Convention in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

The honor of an ACF award proves skill, knowledge and professionalism in the culinary industry and furthers recognition for an individual as a qualified chef. ACF President Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC, presented these awards following two days of competitions during the President’s Gala.

The award recipients include:

  • Chef of the Year – Danielle Hughes, U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer First Class (CS1)
  • Pastry Chef of the Year – Troy Matthew Shaw, U.S. Coast Guard, Culinary Specialist Chief Petty Officer (CSC)
  • Chef Educator of the Year – Jack Birren, CEC, Waukesha County Technical College
  • Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award – Michael R. Thrash, CEC, CCA, CCE, AAC
  • Student Chef of the Year – Lindsay Peck
  • Student Pastry Chef of the Year – Sarrenity Dickson
  • Student Team of the Year – Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College
  • L. Edwin Brown Leadership Award – Ryan Manning, MX Taco
  • Lifetime Contribution Award – Willie Lewis
  • Humanitarian Award — Jeff Henderson
  • National Winner of Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award and Southeast Regional Winner – Joseph Alfano, CEC, AAC
  • Northeast Regional Winner – Richard A. Panzera, CEC, CCE, AAC
  • Western Regional Winner – Brian W. Dragos, CEC, CCE, AAC
  • National Chapter of the Year and Regional Chapter of the Year Northeast – ACF Pittsburgh Chapter
  • Regional Chapter of the Year Central – ACF Chefs of Northwest Indiana
  • Regional Chapter of the Year Southeast – ACF Central Florida Chapter
  • Regional Chapter of the Year Western – ACF Pikes Peak Chapter
  • Industry Partner of the Year – Ecolab

The following members received Presidential Medallions, the highest honor from the president:

  • Eloise Fernandez, CEC, CCE, AAC
  • Darrin Aoyama, CEPC, AAC
  • Ronna Keck, HAAC
  • Amanda Miller, CSC, CPC
  • Polly Barrington
  • Nicholas Barrington, CEC
  • Robert Waskoviak, CEC
  • Susanne Ebacher-Grier
  • John Selick, CEC, CCA, AAC
  • Keith Coughenour, CEC, AAC
  • Richard Hoffman, CEC, CCA, AAC
  • Jeffrey Schlissel
  • Lisa Tomecek, CEPC
  • Chris Bugher, CEC
  • Lawrence Alexander, CCC
  • Lance Cook, CEC, CCA
  • John Casto, CEC
  • Kirk Kief, CEC, CCA, CPC
  • Joseph Kraft, CEC, CCA, AAC
  • Jacqui Pressinger, CPC
  • Brandon LaVielle, CEC
  • Leslie Eckert, CEPC, CCE, AAC

During the convention, President Brock Brown also presented the following Cutting Edge awards:

  • Cassondra Armstrong
  • Jennifer Denlinger, CCC
  • Steve DeShazo, CEC
  • Fionna Espana, CWPC
  • Sheila Osborne-Beck
  • Eveline Rosado-Haliday
  • Victor Sommo, CEC
  • Samuel Spencer
  • Brian Tatsukawa, CEC
  • Kathleen Vossenberg, CEC, CCE
  • Elizabeth Faulkner
  • Amaury Guichon
  • Jeff Henderson
  • Mariya Russell

Hundreds of professional chefs attend ACF’s National Conventions each year for professional development opportunities and to enhance their culinary skills. The ACF National Convention features keynote speakers, cutting-edge demonstrations, a tradeshow, networking, awards ceremony, and live culinary competitions. Next year’s ACF National Convention will take place in New Orleans, July 17-19, 2023. Register to attend on the ACF website,