ACF Chefs Las Vegas History

The ACF Chefs Las Vegas organization is the Las Vegas Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

 

Hosted by Sahara Hotel Executive Chef
Don Anderson
(center right)

The Beginning of the ACF Chefs Las Vegas
By Ed Kane and Amy Graf—2004

The beginning of our organization dates back to 1968. It was a different Las Vegas. The population of the city was less than 100,000. There were no hotels as we know them today. At best, they were motels with 250 rooms, considered quite large. The foundation of our city was well under way with lavish casinos and showrooms that billed top-name entertainment. Good food was the drawing card. Ten-cent beers and nickel hot dogs, 49¢ breakfasts, and in the off season, free buffets reigned.

Private ownership dictated the policies of the hotels and high rollers were the market. Comps were the norm. Lyndon Johnson was president, Paul Laxalt was governor, civil unrest and the Vietnam War were well under way.

Chef Roger Lams recognized the need to bring the local chefs together. The first gathering of Las Vegas Executive Chefs was hosted at the Sahara Hotel by Don Anderson. The goal and purpose of  the gathering was for the executive chefs to meet, become acquainted and discuss mutual concerns, problems and solutions.

The vast input that was gained at this meeting led the way for future meetings to be held at different properties each month.

A name needed to be chosen for this organization and the Fraternity of Executive Chefs was born.

 


In the News

Dateline 1968 ... "Fourteen executives from the Strip and Downtown hotels met in the Don the Beachcomber Restaurant in the Sahara Hotel for a rare Cantonese dinner and discussions of mutual interest. From left to right are:

  • Gunner Jamo - Algiers
  • Manuel Amedo - Bonanza
  • Helmut Reidner - Flamingo
  • Henri Pettijean - Desert Inn
  • Gilbert Pierrel - Dunes
  • Maurice Galle - Caesars Palace
  • Roger Lams - Tropicana
  • Don Anderson - Sahara
  • Ben McGeary - Golden Nugget
  • Ken Walker - Fremont
  • Erwin Schneider - Stardust
  • Harry Ramacciotti - Hacienda
  • Bill Jeager - Aladdin
  • Rudy Thoma

Rudy was a well-known Las Vegas chef and food consultant to Strip hotels.

And that was ... 1968."


In 1970, a Chef of the Year was selected and the tradition has carried to the present.

On March 28, 1977, the Fraternity of Executive Chefs incorporated as a non-profit professional group to organize the Chefs of Las Vegas for mutual assistance, education and to promote, strengthen and develop those bonds of comradery that exist among members of a profession.

In 1977, the Fraternity became a chapter of the American Culinary Federation, which joined our organization to the World Association of Cooks, binding the Fraternity across the globe regardless  of political or religious beliefs. For many years our chapter name was the Fraternity of Executive Chefs Las Vegas, ACF.

 

 
 
 

 

 

One of the biggest accomplishments our Chapter boasts is the formation of Chefs for Kids, Inc.. This nonprofit initiative of the Fraternity of Executive Chefs of Las Vegas, and now the ACF Chefs Las Vegas, strives to eliminate malnutrition and hunger through education and awareness as well as help children in need. Presently, twelve at risk schools   in the Clark County School District take part in this intensive in-school nutrition program.

The Chef for Kids Board, volunteer Chefs and food purveyors visit the schools each year promoting healthy eating habits. They prepare a breakfast once a month at one of the twelve participating elementary schools, strengthening the concept of eating breakfast and supporting the lessons taught in the classroom.

In 2003, the Fraternity of Executive Chefs realized the need to recognize the diversity of Chefs in the Las Vegas Market.

In keeping up with the times, a name change was proposed and approved by our members in 2004. Our name was changed to ACF Chefs Las Vegas. Our name now represents all who work in the many facets of the title “Chef”, and we welcome all to  our organization.

2004 also marked our international debut in Culinary Competition. We organized the Culinary Team Las Vegas 2004, and had a triumphant experience at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany.

 

Team Members William Becker (captain), Richard Han, Kathy Donaho-Wessman, Peter Ghione, and Peter Sherlock won accolades with 9 silver medals and two bronze for a Regional Team. All of the team members, Team Manager, John Hui CEPC, Team Coach David Kellaway CMC, and Team Advisor Raimund Hofmeister CMC should still be incredibly proud of their accomplishment.

Many board and associate members rallied together to make sure our team had every advantage to be successful at this competition, and we are ever so proud of their accomplishments. We are proud to organize a culinary team to represent the City of Las Vegas, and hope to continue this venture in  the future.

Another groundbreaking event for the ACF Chefs Las Vegas in 2004 was establishing a web page for our Chapter. We have long felt an Internet access site for our Chapter would be an excellent vehicle for the world to see our amazing organization. As we continue to invest in our future, the Web site will  be the place to house our significant events.

Whether we are called the Fraternity of Executive Chefs Las Vegas or ACF Chefs Las Vegas, the core purpose of our organization has been to bring Chefs together to become acquainted and discuss mutual concerns and solutions. As our chapter enjoys another anniversary, we can reflect on the group’s humble beginnings, continue to achieve its goals of comradery, professionalism and education.

 

 
 
 

 

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