A FEDERATION IS BORN
BY KAY ORDE
This year, The National Culinary Review
celebrates 80 years of publication.
But the magazine would not have come
into being without the founding, three
years earlier, of the American Culinary
Federation. So, to honor both ACF and
the NCR, we will devote this space in
each issue throughout 2012 to some of
the federation’s most notable milestones.
We begin with excerpts from a piece
written by past president Willy Rossel,
AAC, HOF, for the July 2004 NCR, when
ACF celebrated 75 years.
We cannot talk about the history of the
American Culinary Federation without
paying homage to those who laid the
foundation for culinary excellence
worldwide. Two names come to mind—
Antonin Carême and Auguste Escoffier—
as we begin ACF’s birth story.
Antonin Carême left us with a great
gift—his four cookbooks and, more
importantly, his legacy that has enriched
our lives for more than 200 years.
Auguste Escoffier gave us not only Le
Guide Culinaire but the system of our
kitchen brigade that we enjoy and follow
to this day. These two gentlemen could
not have known that their influence
would be the seed for the formation of
culinary organizations all over the world.
The first U.S. culinary society—the
Société Culinaire Philanthropique—
began in New York in 1865. The
Epicurean Club of Boston was founded
by Herman Berghaus in 1894. It was
followed by the International Chefs
Associated, founded in New York in
1905, mainly by German chefs. Mostly
French chefs started the Vatel Club in
1913, and in 1916, the Chefs de Cuisine
Association of America organization
began, with chef members from several
nations. By 1922, the Pacific Coast Chefs
was established in Seattle, and the Chefs
de Cuisine of Chicago began in 1925.
In 1929, three New York chefs’ societies
formed the American Culinary Federation:
the Chefs de Cuisine Association, the
Société Culinaire Philanthropique and
the Vatel Club. Charles Scotto, HOF, was
our first ACF national president, serving
from 1929 to 1937. In 1935—the year of
Escoffier’s death—he founded Les Amis
d’Escoffier at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in
New York, and 53 chefs held the first Les
Amis d'Escoffier dinner at the hotel.
Joseph Donon, who served as general
secretary of ACF, held the reins of the
federation from 1937 to1953, when Paul
Laesecke, AAC, HOF, became ACF's
second president. In 1954, at the convention
in Washington, D.C., Pierre Berard, AAC,
HOF, was elected to lead the federation. In
the early 1960s, he formed The Honorable
Order of the Golden Toque.
Eugene Ertle, HOF, ACF president from
1956 to 1959, traveled the United States to
promote the federation. He was followed in
the presidency by Peter Berrini, AAC, HOF,
elected in 1959, and Orby Anderson, AAC,
HOF, elected in 1960. ACF had 14 chapters
nationwide with about 1,560 members who
paid 50 cents a year each in dues.
In 1962, I was asked to become president.
I sought support from several culinary
organizations in creating a manual for on-the-job training programs similar to the
one used in Europe. This first manual for
American chef apprenticeship was used
for more than 20 years.
Scotto Anderson Bandera Berard Berrini Ertle Laesecke Rossel
In 1964, John Bandera, CEC, AAC, HOF
became ACF’s president, and the office
was moved from Dallas to Chicago. I was
captain of the culinary team that would
go to Frankfurt, and I nominated Richard
Mack to be the next captain.
We've come a long way since 1929.
We are affiliated with the world's
foodservice professionals through the
World Association of Cooks [now,
Chefs] Societies, and we strive to
make a better world with unity and
cooperation. We look forward to an even
greater future, and although we are not
able to unite all the chefs’ societies, we
strive always for fraternal concord.