Debbie Stapleton Named 2011’s Dame de l’Annee

L’Academie Culinaire de France is proud to honor Debbie Stapleton as its “Dame de l’Annee 2011”.

Debbie Stapleton was born in New York City. Her father was a stockbroker, her mother, a housewife and avid gardener. A fraternal twin sister, an older sister and brother rounded out their family. Mrs. Stapleton graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C., majoring in communications with a minor in international relations. One of her favorite quotes comes from Chef Auguste Escoffier, “The art of cooking is one of the most effective forms of diplomacy.”

After college, Mrs. Stapleton worked for the MITRE Corporation (MIT Research & Engineering) setting up an environmental library, then at the Environmental Protection Agency. After marrying Ambassador Craig Stapleton, she worked as executive director for a small nonprofit organization, called Secondary School Chairmen, a consortium of chairmen of the Boards of Independent Schools in the Northeast.

Mrs. Stapleton loves to travel and has spent several summers visiting France. She joined Ecole Champlain Group in Jouy-en-Josas where she acquired her love of French language and food, and greatly enjoyed visiting the nearby palace of Versailles and its magnificent gardens. She traveled extensively throughout the South of France, visiting the Stapleton’s cousins in St. Jean Cap Ferrat and Deavillle. Mrs. Stapleton has always had a passion for French cuisine and was a fan of an early cooking book by Michel Oliver, La Cuisine est un Jeu D’enfants. The recipes of Julia Childs and her seminal work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, also inspired her.

Mrs. Stapleton joined her husband Ambassador Stapleton in representing the United States of America in the Czech Republic from 2001-2003. She considers this the ultimate volunteer job, from which she gained tremendous respect and affection for the Czech people. She focused her efforts on raising funds for Czech non-profits benefiting children, the handicapped and the elderly. In this endeavor, Mrs. Stapleton worked with diplomats and their wives from 46 countries. Mrs. Stapleton’s passion for gardening was realized in her restoration of the Prague Embassy residence gardens.

Upon her return to the United States of America, Mrs. Stapleton became actively involved in the reelection campaign for President George W. Bush, serving as Connecticut Co-Chairman director. In January 2005, President Bush asked Ambassador Stapleton to serve his country as Ambassador to France.

Mrs. Stapleton greatly enjoyed learning about France, and its many distinctive regions, meeting people throughout the country, and celebrating America’s long and historic friendship with France. In October 2009, Mrs. Stapleton’s book Elegant Entertaining, Seasonal Recipes at the American Ambassador’s Residence was published in French and English. It recounts the fascinating history of the Residence and introduces forty of Executive Chef Philippe Excoffier’s best seasonal recipes.

The Stapleton’s son, Walker, works in real estate and lives in Denver Colorado with his wife Jenna and son, Craigie. Walker graduated from Harvard Business School and is the Colorado State Treasurer. Their daughter, Wendy, lives in New York City with her husband Diego Reyes and two daughters, Loulie and Mia Grace.

Madame Stapleton est très heureuse d’être avec un groupe de renommée des grands chefs français. Une telle reconnaissance est le rêve de sa vie.

Jean-Louis Gerin “Best of Gold Coast 2011”, Connecticut

Chilled Diced Vegetables in Saffron Bouillon

6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from about 1 medium onion)
1 cup thinly sliced leek (white part only; from about 1 medium-large leek)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 3-4 medium cloves)
1 cup finely chopped carrot (from 3-4 medium carrots)
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
2 pinches saffron
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
2 small plum tomatoes
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice Cooked and chilled seafood of your choice (mussels, shrimp, lobster, salmon, etc)
Salt
2 tablespoons chopped chives, mint, or scallions

Read More

Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer Receives the Golden Pretzel

The Institute of Arts and Popular Traditions of Alsace honored Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer of The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago in Strasbourg on October 2, 2010 with the Bretzel d’Or, or “Golden Pretzel” award. Each year, the institute recognizes talented Alsatians who preserve the arts and traditions of Alsace, the culturally rich, eastern region of France, bordering Lorraine and Franche-Comté, with Germany to the east and Switzerland to the south. Chef Pfeiffer and other Golden Pretzel recipients not only safeguard Alsatian heritage, but promote it within the region, around France, and throughout the world. Students of The French Pastry School benefit from their Dean’s heritage, and his dedication to passing it on.

Immediately following the Chicago premiere of the documentary in which Pfeiffer plays a key role, Kings of Pastry on October 1st at the Gene Siskel Theater, he left for the airport to travel back to the “promised land” as he likes to call it, to receive the award. Originally from a small town near Strasbourg in Alsace, Pfeiffer began his pastry training there, going on to work as Executive Pastry Chef for renowned establishments and international dignitaries. Chef Pfeiffer, along with Chef Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., later founded The French Pastry School in Chicago.

Read the rest of this announcement on the French Pastry School’s web site.

Kings of Pastry Premiers in Chicago

Tickets are now on sale for the Chicago premiere of Kings of Pastry, the documentary film created by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, directors of The War Room and Don’t Look Back. After meeting with great success in screenings all over the world, Kings of Pastry will be shown in the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, Illinois, the city where the story of Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer’s pursuit of the prestigious title, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France), begins.

The film follows ACF member Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago and two other distinguished pastry chefs in their quest to do more than the best they can do in pastry, “but the best that can be done.” This is the essence of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, a competition held in France every four years for artisans in the effort to achieve perfection in their craft, and be named one of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France.

Kings of Pastry will be showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center from October 1st through October 7th, 2010. Follow this link to purchase tickets.

Additional premieres in cities across the United States will take place at the following locations:

OPENS October 8th – Los Angeles, CA – Laemmle Music Hall
OPENS October 8th – Denver, CO – Starz Film Center
COMING in October – San Francisco & Marin City, CA – Balboa & Lark Theaters
OPENS October 8th – Kansas City, MO – Screenland Crown Center
OPENS October 22nd – Santa Fe, NM – The Screen
OPENS November 26th – Seattle, – WA Northwest Film Forum

For more screenings and information, visit www.kingsofpastry.com.

Ariane Daguin Named ACF’s “Dame de l’Annee 2010″

L’Academie Culinaire de France is proud to honor Ariane Daguin, founder and owner of D’Artagnan, as its “Dame de l’Annee 2010.”

Ariane Daguin was born into a world of great food. Her father, André Daguin, is famous throughout France for his artistry with foie gras and other Gascon specialties. Ariane was expert at deboning ducks, rendering duck fat, preparing terrines and cooking the game birds her grandfather hunted by the time she was ten.

A career in food might have seemed natural, but Ariane decided to pursue an academic degree at Columbia University. While working part-time for a New York pâté producer, Ariane was in the right place when the opportunity to market the first domestically produced foie gras presented itself.  She and a co-worker pooled their financial resources and love of food to launch D’Artagnan as the only purveyor of game and foie gras in the U.S. at the time.  Devoted advocates for natural, sustainable and humane production, Ariane and D’Artagnan have been at the forefront of the organic movement in America, pioneering organic, free-range chicken (years before the FDA allowed the word “organic” on the label), and humanely raised veal.

The creation of D’Artagnan coincided with a growing sophistication in American cuisine.
According to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, “D’Artagnan changed food in America by introducing high quality products to the American market, items Americans weren’t familiar with like foie gras, game and wild mushrooms.  The emphasis has always been on organic products and free range as well.  As chefs, we can only create great food with great ingredients, something D’Artagnan has always supplied us with.”

In 2005 after two decades of collaboration, Ariane acquired her partner’s share of the company to become sole owner.  Now, five years after that momentous decision, Ariane is proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of D’Artagnan in 2010.

In addition to running D’Artagnan, developing new products and researching innovative and ecologically responsible methods of production, Ariane is founding president of Les Nouvelles Mères Cuisinières, an international association of prestigious women chefs, and she is on the board of City Harvest. Recognized in 1994 by The James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America,” Ariane is now a member of the Awards Committee.  In 2005, Ariane received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Bon Appetit magazine, and in September 2006, was awarded the French Legion d’Honneur.  She lives in New York City with her daughter Alix, who grew up alongside D’Artagnan.

For more information, and to see D’Artagnan’s line of fine foods, please visit www.dartagnan.com.

Jean-Louis Gerin Becomes New ACF President

On June 6, 2010, Chef Jean-Louis Gerin was elected by secret ballot as the new president of the US delegation of the Academie Culinaire de France, succeeding Chef Jean-Jacques Dietrich, who served the A.C.F. for 32 years.

In his acceptance speech, Gerin announced his desire to open the Academie to American chefs – both male and female – who have been trained by French chefs. Gerin’s first board-team comprises of 2 pastry chefs, 3 French chefs de cuisine and 2 American chefs de cuisine.