March Presidential Letter

Date: March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019

Hello, chefs, culinarians, and associates.

I hope all of you are doing well and that business is good.

In February, the AACT program hosted the 2019 Presidential Awards Dinner and did a fantastic job executing a seven-course dinner for the event. Thanks to Chef Fred Wright and all of his students for providing excellent hospitality and delicious dishes. This year we handed out three awards for exemplary craftsmanship in our industry. Student Destiny Maynes received the Student Culinarian of the Year award. Destiny was also the lead student culinarian in charge of putting together and helping execute this year’s awards dinner at AACT. Pastry Chef of the Year went to Michelle Palmer from SMG/SAVOR at the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Association facility. Chef of the Year was given to Ron Eber from the Granlibakken Conference Center in Tahoe City. I would like to thank all of our award recipients for their continuing support of the ACF and the High Sierra Chefs Association.

Chef Fred Wright along with me, as the AACT teams mentor, participated in this year’s Prostart competition in Las Vegas at the end of February. Four schools from Northern Nevada and five schools from Southern Nevada competed in this year’s event. Students from AACT, McQueen, North Valleys, and Carson City high schools represented the North. This year’s first place culinary team was from AACT. Those students will now be moving on the Washington D.C. in May for the National Prostart Competition. AACT also took home a second place medal for management and a third place medal for culinary. McQueen got third place for Management. Laila Noury from McQueen placed third in cake decorating and Bronsen Costello from North Valleys place first in Edible Centerpiece and Knife Skills. Congratulations to all the teachers, mentors, and students who participated in this year’s event. All the teams did a great job and it was very motivating to see the passion and excitement for our craft flourishing in the next generation of chefs and entrepreneurs. If you or anyone you know is interested in mentoring at any of the schools in Northern Nevada contact our board secretary, Amanda Burden, at

I hope everyone is following us on Facebook at ACF High Sierra Chefs Association. Speaking of our social media platforms, we have a new intern from the University of Nevada, Reno journalism school named Katie Keever. Katie helps the board keep up with what’s going on in the social media arena and writes informative news articles on chefs and local businesses in our industry. All the articles that we post on the Facebook page are also located on the website in the News column. The board is using these two platforms along with emails to communicate with our members on upcoming events and gatherings. In addition, all upcoming HSCA events are located under the Events section of the website. There you also can find board meeting dates and locations and any other information about what is going on in our area.

Finally, this is a call to all of our members. Please help us get the word out about the ACF and who and what we are about. As it is right now our current membership is at 39. Three associate members, one culinary enthusiast, 31 Professional Culinarians, and four Senior Professional Culinarians. We can do better, and we need to do better. President DeCambra is working hard to get his agenda out “Be the Change” and I agree with him. If we do not get out there and show support in our community and represent the ACF how will anyone ever know who we are or what we are about. “Be the Change.”

The food scene in our area is growing at an exponential rate right now with one common remark “I can’t find help.” We must be the leaders in this change. As members of the ACF chapter in our area we must take the time to get our message out to the community, local schools, and help develop a relationship with other culinarians and students. Unfortunately, the most common comment I hear from non-members is “what do I get for $200?” I tell them that like any good aspect in our lives, what you put into it, is what you will get out of it. If you put nothing into it, you will get nothing out of it. Our chapter has the foundation to be a formidable contributor to the development of students and culinarians in Northern Nevada and Northern California, but not without your help. If you have any questions about how to sign someone up for membership, please contact me or any of the board members.

Thank you,

Jay Rathmann, CEC, CCA

President of the High Sierra Chefs Association