Friday, November 19, 2010

Southwest Florida Chapter American Culinary Federation

On November 15, 2010 the ACF meeting at Bistro 41's Bell Tower banquet site brought well over 200 people to meet Chef Peter Timmins, C.M.C.,  and enjoy culinary delights.
Heritage Palms Country Club Executive Chef and Chapter President Christopher Cassel
is not one to brag, so I'll do it for him. He was working at a restaurant in New Jersey, when Ritz-Carlton executives dined, and then offered him the chance to work at the Naples Ritz-Carlton. He quickly became Executive Chef over several of the Ritz's dining rooms during his 3 year stay. He has placed well in international competitions.  He has been  Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director of Naples' prestigious Grey Oaks Country Club. On the side, he's created two Cilantro Tamales restaurants in Naples from scratch, and he is a dad to boot! He's a human dynamo, invigorating the cooking community in Lee and Collier Counties, and you, the diner benefit.

Chef Cassel introduced Chef  Peter Timmins, Executive Chef at The Gasparilla Inn & Club (below). If you've not been there, go for a day or weekend. Irish born and classically trained, his cuisine is exemplary, and his passion for fine cuisine is evident. He was previously Executive Chef at the famous Greenbrier in West Virginia.
This evening I also learned about his generosity in assisting other chefs in their training, and in assisting them to rise through the ranks. I can't name many other chefs who also might  read Escoffier's 1903 volume in French, and can readily describe and demonstrate countless classical techniques.  There are perhaps 60 chefs with the CMC or Certified Master Chef certification. Chef Timmins spoke of the importance of a chef's learning the techniques that precede taking the certification test, and not concentrating only on passing the tests to get the ACF's CEC, CCE and then the CMC letters on one's jacket. Cookery is an all encompassing hobby for some, a lifelong passion for many, not just another job. It's worth giving it one's best, not less. A wise chef would spend as much time with Chef Timmins or another Master Chef as possible. Chef Timmins brought several books-Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire-get an older edition and master the first 140 pages. Read Practical Professional Cooking,  and understand Saulnier's Le Repertoir de la Cusine-French cuisine in a shorthand terse style. Learn and master the techniques inherent in these tomes, and you'll be in the top few percent of international chefs!
 Gasparilla Island is a relaxing, nicely  preserved bit of Old Florida. The Inn's Main Dining Room is open to the public for breakfast and dinner. Jackets are required for gentlemen at dinner in Season. Check it out!
The Gasparilla Inn's Fifth Annual Food & Wine Weekend is scheduled for January 14-16, 2011. The Master Chef's Dinner will feature wine selections from Willakenzie Estate Winery and exceptional cuisine created by Master Chef Peter Timmins and others.

Superb Pastry Chef Paw Mikkelsen  of Mikkelsen's Pastry Shop creates some of the best pastries and desserts in Florida. As tasty as they are beautiful, they are reasonably priced, and add a delicious touch of elegance to home dinners as well as catered events for over 800 people.  Call 591-8892 for more info.
Proof? His chocolate cake, pecan pie, Key lime pie and numerous pastries quickly disappeared. Anyting this beautiful will not last long!
Chef Scott Boyd of the Sanibel Beach Resort brought delicious soups and tender pork.

He's also Sergeant at Arms for the ACF Chapter.
Chef Kris Bailey of The Edison brought an expansive cheese table and delicious hors d'oeuvres to the table
I like dessert first, and tried several of the wonderful rich ice creams from Tom and Amy Spinelli's Naples Ice Cream Factory  in the Greentree Shopping Plaza on the corner of Airport and Immokalee Road.
They craft a few dozen delicious flavors-many are seasonal. You have to try their sorbets, gelato, raspberry white chocolate chunk ice cream and the oh-so-good mascarpone caramel pistachio ice cream.

Cucina della Cucina brought some amazng Alaskan King Crab stuffed Raviolis with Parsley leaves as edible decoration.
-you have to try them to believe them.

Bill Pangas of Happy Foods has a great sense of humor and let me pose him with a pair of Buddha's Hand citrus. Happy Foods produce graces the plates of many SW Fla restaurants.
Executive Chef Craig Panneton and Sous Chris Manassa of The Pink Shell Beach Resort brought amazing duck confit in tender pastry shells- one of the evening's stars!
ACF Vice President Craig Panneton talked on stage.
                                                              Sous Chef Chris Manassa
Executive Chef Reiner Drygala comes from a family of chefs with parents Rainer and Rosemarie Drygala, and his wonderful food at Bistro 41 shows the tradition continues.  He's also Membership Chairman of the SW Fla ACF. Go to

Bistro 41 Chef Heath Higginbotham's chili won first place recently
Alfred Dauphin brought his unique line of Chocovin chocolate wines, cooking brandy, cognac, and vodka.
Chef Wayne Martin wearing the hat for  the American Lamb Council cooked up savory lamb-I had seconds, it was so good! 
The ACF members contibute to the Harry Chapin food Bank, and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charities and good causes over the years. If I were a chef in Lee County, I'd be a member of the ACF. For networking, new skills and personal advancement- it's the bomb!


Seafood Naples said...

very nice "For sandwiches on the go, separate the elements: Put the bread in one baggy, the condiments in a small Tupperware or squirt bottle, and the veggies in another baggy. Assemble just before eating. "

Eh, some sandwiches need tight wrapping together and keeping them that way for some time in order to get a quality sandwich

Ivan Seligman said...

Seafood Naples,

"Sandwiches on the go..."

Huh? I didn't mention that...