St. Augustine, Fla., February 9, 2010—Tracy DeWitt, of Scottsdale, Ariz., received the American Culinary Federation, Inc., (ACF) Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year award at the 2010 ACF Western Regional Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Albuquerque, N.M., Feb. 6-8. DeWitt accepted the award at Monday’s Celebrating Regional Excellence Awards Gala.
Sponsored by Splenda®, the 2010 ACF Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year award recognizes a pastry chef who has displayed a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has given back through the education of others by sharing his or her skills and knowledge. DeWitt competed against two other candidates before being declared the winner. As this year’s Western Region recipient, DeWitt will compete for the national title against the winners from the two other ACF regions at the 2010 ACF National Convention in Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 2-5.
DeWitt began her baking career in a French-Viennese pastry shop in New Jersey when she was 15 years old. Today, she is lead pastry chef-instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts (formerly Scottsdale Culinary Institute) in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she has worked for nearly 15 years. Before entering the educational side of the industry, she worked as a private consultant for Cold Stone Creamery in Scottsdale, where she designed and implemented a new cake for retail stores nationwide. She has also worked in various pastry-chef positions, including positions with Variations Pastry Creations, Tempe, Ariz., and The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo.
She received her culinary training at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., where she earned an associate degree in culinary arts in 1988 and a certificate in baking and pastry in 1994. In 2006, DeWitt earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from American InterContinental University, Hoffman Estates, Ill. An avid competitor, she won a gold medal at the 2006 National Bread and Pastry Team Championship in Atlantic City, N.J.; a silver medal at the 2009 National Team Pastry Championship in Phoenix, and most recently took home first place on “Food Network Challenge: Extreme Candy Carnival” in February 2009.
Chosen for its New Mexican cuisine, scenic beauty and entertainment options, Albuquerque was the location of the 2010 ACF Western Regional Conference hosted by ACF Rio Grande Valley Chapter. Bringing chefs, cooks and foodservice professionals to the city, the conference provided attendees with opportunities to advance their professional development and enhance their culinary skills through business seminars, cooking demonstrations featuring the latest trends and techniques, cooking competitions and awards.
Sponsors of the 2010 ACF Western Regional Conference and ACF national award sponsors are: American Technical Publishers; Avocados from Mexico; Barry Callebaut; Ben E. Keith; Boyd Coffee Company; California Rice Commission; Canada Cutlery Inc.; The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee; Custom Culinary, Inc.; Diamond Crystal Salt; Fisher-Nickel Inc.; King & Prince Seafood; Koch Foods, Inc.; MARS Food Services; MenuMax; Minor’s®; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; R.L. Schreiber, Inc.; Riviana Foods Inc.; Shamrock Foods Company; Splenda®; Sterling Silver Premium Meats; Sysco New Mexico, LLC; TexaSweet Citrus Marketing, Inc.; The Sterno Group; Tyson Food Service; Unilever Foodsolutions; U.S. Foodservice; Vitamix Corp.; 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 22,000 members spanning 230 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States 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. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org