American Culinary Federation hosts holiday dinner

The American Culinary Federation of Las Vegas had its annual holiday reception and dinner Dec. 12 at The Orleans.

Chefs and their guests were asked to bring one gift per ticket to be donated to local charities.

The Orleans Ballroom was decorated in holiday decor for the occasion. The cocktail reception offered buffets of canapes and fresh seafood — including stone crab flown in from Florida — plus imported cheeses and fruit. Dinner with all the accompaniments was served from cooking stations throughout the room.

The 2008 Chef of the Year and president of the Las Vegas American Culinary Federation chapter Rick Baumes welcomed the crowd and introduced master of ceremonies Steve Soltz, the 2010 Chef of the Year. Soltz has been in Las Vegas since 2004 and has been a culinary educator at the College of Southern Nevada for six years. As chef of the year, Soltz is responsible for planning all the general federation meetings for the year, organizing and assisting with the chef of the year election for 2011, assisting with the chef of the year program book and attending the American Culinary Federation national convention.

Soltz gave certificates of appreciation to chef Philip Bonanno, executive chef at The Orleans, and to Juan Carlos for his ice carvings. Chef Michael Ty, national president of the American Culinary Federation, presented federation presidential coins to chef Jean Hertzman of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, chef Tom Rosenberger of College of Southern Nevada, Edward Reyes, a CSN student, and Lorri Davidson of Southwest Gas.

Ty presented the presidential medallion to chef Frank Insera, 1982 Chef of the Year for his work at Bingo Palace, known today as Palace Station. Now retired, Insera is still active in the federation and serves as a board member.

Chef Patrick Simon, corporate executive chef for Sysco and a board member of Chefs for Kids, spoke about Chefs for Kids doing its annual breakfast on Christmas Eve morning. For the breakfast, chefs arrive early to prepare a hot breakfast at Shade Tree Shelter. The majority of the toys collected at the culinary federation’s holiday dinner are given to the children at Shade Tree.

More chefs and guests attending the holiday dinner were Christopher Johns, Heinz Lauer, Bruno Wehren, Jean Insera, Corinne Fields, Celuta Elder, Roger Eisenzoph, Sarah and Joe Scott, Buzz Thurber, Jeannette and Eldon Davis, Mary and Claude Lambertz, John Stefanelli and Dale Davidson.

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