L’Académie Culinaire de France and Les Maîtres Cuisiniers de France Get a Taste of the Windy City’s Culinary Culture
Chicago, Illinois (July 5, 2012) – When the talent of over five hundred years of cumulative culinary experience assembles in one room at The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago, someone must be in for a treat. When that gathering lasts for two days moving from one Chicago institution to the next, it’s a sign that L’Académie Culinaire de France (The Culinary Academy of France, ACF) and Les Maîtres Cuisiniers de France (The Master Chefs of France, MCF) are in town for the annual conference of their North American Chapters. The two French government organizations that seek to encourage excellence in both master chefs de cuisine and pâtissiers came to Chicago from all over North America and France to induct new members, convene on organization business, and celebrate their camaraderie at some of the city’s best restaurants and favorite venues. The French Pastry School, whose faculty, including both co-founders, boasts four members of ACF, proposed that it was time to feature their hometown as the destination of this year’s Congrès and thus earned the honor of hosting the meetings and festivities. The event was over two years in the making and celebrations were held at well-known Windy City institutions that honor French culinary philosophy: Union League of Chicago, Chez Moi, NAHA, and La Sardine. Chicago, with its respect for both established traditions and new innovations, was the perfect backdrop for the assembly of these decades-old culinary associations.
Respectively founded in 1879 and 1951, the ACF and MCF are no strangers to ceremony. As an unofficial beginning to the weekend’s events, Chef Jean-Jacques Dietrich, Honorary President of ACF’s United States Chapter, and Gérard Dupont, International President of ACF, attended the commencement of The French Pastry School’s L’Art de la Pâtisserie at the historic Union League Club of Chicago. There they presented Director of Operations, Franco Pacini with one of the Académie’s highest honors: Officier de l’Ordre Mondial de L’Académie Culinaire de France, a distinction few other United States citizens hold.
In return, while observing the beginning of the pastry careers of over 60 graduates, co-founders Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., honored the two visiting chefs with The French Pastry School’s Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to the culinary and pastry arts. “Cooking is from the heart,” Chef Dietrich explained to the audience, “and if you don’t have heart, you lose what it is about. It is a beautiful thing but you have to work hard for it.”