AN EMPHASIS ON AAC FELLOWS
This month we talk with John Minniti, CCE, AAC, HBOT, HOF, chair, American
Academy of Chefs, 2003-2007, and AAC Ambassador.
Why did you join the AAC?
culmination of a lifelong dream. Anthony
was my mentor, was a member of the
Academy, and it was always my goal to
impressed by the caliber of chefs the AAC
represented. So when my name was placed
in nomination for membership, I was pleased
and proud. My induction into the AAC was
one of the high points of my culinary career,
and I have always felt both honored and
counts among its membership some of the
Why did you run for office?
As an AAC member, I strongly felt that
I wanted to continue the traditions that
had been established by former Academy
chairs, as well as begin some new traditions
that would take the Academy into the
future. The best way to accomplish this,
the urging of previous chairs and other
position of national vice chair after serving
as Northeast Region director. I was elected,
and served as vice chair for four years under
to continue my efforts to move the Academy
forward, so I ran for Academy chair. I was
honored to spend two terms as AAC chair.
Talk about your accomplishments.
this in mind, one of my primary goals was
to help members develop and grow as chefs
so they could share their knowledge with
others. I wanted to establish a grant that would
of continuing education and professional
development. I accomplished this by creating
awards funds for culinarians to take courses
also instrumental in continuing the Chair’s
to students enrolled in culinary programs. I
worked with the AAC Board of Directors
to change some of the bylaws to bring them
be able to include more of the outstanding
culinarians who deserved recognition. It is my
hope that my tenure as Academy chair has
it was only possible because of the help and
support of the AAC Board of Directors and
Is there something that’s especially
memorable from your time in office?
tenure was the induction of Thomas Keller,
a program had been in the planning stages
for a number of years, and came to fruition
under my tenure as chair.
What was your biggest contribution?
My biggest contribution was increasing the
workings of the Academy. I increased the
number of regional directors, increased the
number of awards, grants and scholarships
available to Academy members, and
worked to increase the level of attendance
and enthusiasm for regional meetings and
Talk about the Academy’s emphasis on
mentoring and scholarships.
This is the most crucial role of the AAC. It
to share their culinary wisdom with up-and-coming culinarians for the betterment
of the culinary profession. Thousands of
dollars in grants and scholarships have
been given to prospective culinarians to
enable them to pursue their dreams. This is
a result of the generosity of our Academy
are also ensuring that the Academy will
continue to grow into the future.
Has the Academy lived up to your
The AAC has not only lived up to my
This is due in great part to both the
Academy membership and past and
present leadership. I have great respect
who count themselves as members of this
my close personal friends as well as
professional colleagues. I feel honored to
be a part of such a prestigious group.
If someone asks, “Why should I be an
I tell them that the American Academy of
Chefs represents the best that the culinary
whether at a regional or national level, is
must meet stringent criteria and be approved
through an election process. It may take an
investment of time and energy, but if you
of the American Academy of Chefs.