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American Culinary Federation names Michael Matarazzo chef of the year

The American Culinary Federation, the country’s largest chef organization, selected Michael Matarazzo, executive chef at Bear Mountain Inn, as U.S.A. Chef of the Year at its national awards held recently in Anaheim, Calif.

Matarazzo, 31, led the Regional Team USA to become world champions in their category at the 2008 “culinary Olympics” held in Erfurt, Germany. At the time he was the team’s captain. Currently, he is executive chef of the Bear Mountain Inn in Bear Mountain, N.Y., and is employed by Guest Services, which is in the process of opening a new café and fine-dining restaurant at the State Park’s Inn.

“It is mind blowing to me that I am standing here with the amount of talent that is in this room,” Matarazzo said at the podium when he just learned he won Chef of the Year. He also thanked his mentors and the educators who were present at the dinner for their contribution to the culinary world.

The St. Augustine, Fla.-based ACF, which was established in 1929 and currently boasting about 20,000 members, presented close to 50 awards at its national conference held earlier this month, along with its sister organization, American Academy of Chefs.

Two other top prizes went to Andreas Proisl, executive pastry chef of the Isleworth Country club in Windermere, Fla., who won ACF National Pastry Chef of the Year, and Jeffrey Brown, associate professor of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., who was named ACF National Chef Educator of the Year.

“This is validation from your peers,” Brown said. “You bring your knowledge and pay it forward.”

“It’s like the biggest thing in my life,” Proisl said.

For more information on the ACF and a recap of the 2010 National Convention with videos from winners visit: http://www.acfchefs.org/Convention. The 2011 national meeting, which includes cooking competitions, a trade show, educational seminars and awards banquets, is scheduled to take place in Dallas.

Contact Pamela Parseghian at [email protected]

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