Chef Laura Johnson-Lachowecki, CC
The best pastry chef in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation (ACF), is Laura Johnson-Lachowecki, CC, baker at University of Notre Dame Food Services, Notre Dame, Indiana. Johnson-Lachowecki received the title of ACF Pastry Chef of the Year and $5,000 after winning a competition during Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show in Orlando, Florida, July 30-Aug. 3.
The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter, was established in 2004 and recognizes a pastry chef who displays a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has helped educate others by sharing skills and knowledge. Three finalists from ACF regions competed at the national convention after first being nominated by colleagues and then winning their respective regional competition.
“I am extremely honored to be named 2015 American Culinary Federation Pastry Chef of the Year,” said Johnson-Lachowecki. “I am humbled to have competed alongside chefs Rodrigo Domingono Nunez Jr. and David Lewis, as they are both very talented and distinguished pastry chefs. Through competitions, I have learned so much and met so many different people. I would not be where I am today without the support of Executive Chef Donald Miller, CEC, CCE, AAC, and others at University of Notre Dame. My chapter, ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association, has also helped me every step of the way. I look forward to a long, active membership with ACF.”
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Pastry chefs had 2 hours, 30 minutes, to prep and serve three items: a cold contemporary plated dessert that included key lime and an additional Florida fruit, a signature cookie and a showpiece that was at least 2 feet tall, representing the designated theme Disney princesses. A panel of ACF-approved judges determined the winner.
Key lime-chiffon cheesecake tart with orange sherbet, macerated Florida oranges and Florida ruby red grapefruit gel
Butter cookie with frangipane filling and topped with honey glaze and almonds
The Wonderful World of Disney Princesses featuring various techniques including: modeling chocolate, pastillage and modeling marzipan
Johnson-Lachowecki graduated with honors from Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wisconsin, with an associate degree in culinary arts and hotel restaurant management and a certificate in advanced baking. She is working on her bachelor’s in management from the University of Wisconsin—Stout, Menomonee, Wisconsin. She has received several gold and silver medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions.
Detail of showpiece.
Her experience includes line cook at Sliders Bar and Grill, Menasha, Wisconsin, and intern and baker/pastry cook at Notre Dame Bakeshop, Notre Dame. In her current capacity, she oversees a staff of eight. She and her staff make the pastries for University Catering and Morris Inn at Notre Dame, a four-star hotel on the University’s campus.
-American Culinary Federation