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   ACF Names 2016 ACF Culinary Team USA Manager & Youth Team USA Manager
by American Culinary Federation
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 at 2:54PM EST

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- American Culinary Federation (ACF) President Michael Ty , CEC®, AAC®, has announced that Joseph Leonardi , CEC®, of Plainville, Mass., was selected as 2016 ACF Culinary Team USA manager and J. Kevin Walker , CMC®, AAC®, of Indian Wells, Calif., was selected as ACF Culinary Youth Team USA manager.

The announcement by Ty of the appointment of Leonardi and Walker as ACF Culinary Team USA manager and youth team manager, respectively, was made in partnership with 2012 ACF Culinary Team USA Manager Steve Jilleba , CMC®, CCE®, AAC®, and ACF Education Foundation Chair John Kinsella , CMC®, CCE®, WGMC, AAC®. Leonardi and Walker were selected from a group of qualified candidates after an extensive interview process. ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, comprises a national, military, regional and youth team. Leonardi will oversee the ACF Culinary Team USA program, as well as directly manage ACF Culinary National Team USA, while Walker will manage the youth team, ACF Culinary Youth Team USA.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have Joseph Leonardi , CEC, as our 2016 ACF Culinary Team USA manager and J. Kevin Walker , CMC, AAC, as ACF Culinary Youth Team USA manager," said Ty. "As captain of the 2012 national team, Leonardi's leadership and skill in the kitchen served the U.S. well, and will continue to do so in his new role as manager as he takes the 2016 team to new heights. Walker has an impressive record of preparing colleagues and young competitors for competition, and I am confident that he will instill the same urge to excel in the 2016 youth team."

Applications for 2016 ACF Culinary National Team USA are being accepted through Feb. 28, 2013, with tryouts taking place in the following months for those selected. The application and tryout requirements can be found at 

Leonardi, a member of ACF Rhode Island Chapter, is executive chef at Somerset Club in Boston. He joined the club's staff after serving eight years on the faculty of Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., as department chair and assistant professor. He served as ACF Culinary National Team USA's captain from 2010 to 2012, when the team competed at the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition, also known as the "culinary Olympics," in Erfurt, Germany, and garnered two silver medals and the second-highest score in hot food, and at the 2010 Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg when the team won two gold medals and placed third overall. He was a member of ACF Culinary Regional Team USA when it placed first in the regional category at the 2008 IKA and fourth at the 2007 American Culinary Classic. Other awards include winning 2009 U.S.A.'s Chef of the Year™, two bronze medals at the 2004 ACF National Convention, the 2004 Medal of the French Government at the 136th Salon of Culinary Art in New York and the 2003 Best Dessert award from the Académie Culinaire de France.

Walker, a Certified Master Chef®, is executive chef at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, Calif., and is one of only 67 ACF-certified master chefs in the nation. Prior to joining The Vintage Club, he worked at several prestigious clubs and hotels, including Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta and Four Seasons in Los Colinas, Texas. He was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs® (AAC®), the honor society of ACF, in 2008, and awarded AAC's Chef Good Taste Award for furthering the culinary industry and upholding the traditions of classical cuisine in 2011. He has received numerous culinary awards, including 2007 U.S.A.'s Chef of the Year™ and Chef of the Year award from ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter Inc., where he is currently a member, that same year. He is an ACF-approved competition judge and was a founding member of ACF Professional Chefs Association of Houston. He has competed in more than 10 culinary competitions since 1993 and has won several gold medals.

ACF Culinary Team USA sponsors are: Chef Revival; Johnson & Wales University; Unilever Food Solutions; Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc.; McCain Foods; McCormick For Chefs; Waring® Commercial; ACF Columbus Chapter; Sara Lee Foodservice; Villeroy & Boch; American Academy of Chefs®; Albert Uster Imports; Sysco®; Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc.; ACF Philadelphia Chapter; ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association; Kopplin & Kuebler; YoCream International, Inc.; ACF Berkshire Chapter; ACF Black Hills Chapter of Professional Chefs; ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter Inc.; ACF North Carolina Chapter; ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians, Inc.; and Rastelli Foods Group.

About the American Culinary Federation
The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning more than 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef® and Certified Sous Chef™ designations the only culinary credentials accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit Find ACF on Facebook at and on Twitter @ACFChefs.

Source: American Culinary Federation

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