Ford Culbertson, executive pastry chef and co-owner of Rolf's Patisserie, Lincolnwood, Ill., received the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Central Region Pastry Chef of the Year Award at the 2009 ACF Central Regional Conference held in Schaumburg, Ill., last month.
The 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.
As this year's Central Region recipient, Culbertson will compete for the national title against the winners from three other regions at the ACF National Convention in Orlando, Fla., July 11-14, 2009. He competed against Matthew Crowe, pastry chef at Northwood Club, Dallas, and Charles Stepanovich, pastry chef at The Milwaukee Club, Milwaukee, to earn the Central Region award.
Culbertson has worked at Rolf's Patisserie since 1982, and owned the 20,000-sq.-ft. specialty wholesale bakery since 1984. Before that, Culbertson worked as pastry chef at Lutz Continental Café and Pastry Shop, Chicago, and as a teacher at the American Institute of Baking, Manhattan, Kan. He graduated from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., and from the American Institute of Baking. He says his focus in the industry is to restore high-quality artistry and craftsmanship to baking, and to further enhance the excellence of cake, pastry and confectionary production.
The 2009 ACF Central Regional Conference was hosted by ACF Chicago Chefs of Cuisine Inc. More than 400 chefs, cooks and foodservice professionals attended the conference, which featured business seminars, forums and cooking demonstrations covering the latest trends and techniques. The pastry chef competition and other competitions were held at nearby Elgin Community College.