Culinary Grad Tops in Nation
Appleton’s Laura Johnson-Lachowecki, a 2012 honors graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hotel & Restaurant Management programs with a certificate in advanced baking, won the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Pastry Chef of the Year award during the ACF’s annual Cook. Craft. Create. National Convention in Orlando. Her winning presentation featured themes pertaining to cookies, a plated dessert, and a Disney princess showpiece.
Johnson-Lachowecki currently works as a floor chef for the University of Notre Dame Food Services department, where she oversees a staff of eight. The ACF-certified Culinarian (CC) also supervises pastry orders for the catering services at a four-star hotel on Notre Dame’s campus.
While attending FVTC, Johnson-Lachowecki earned a gold medal in a hot food plate category as part of a student team at the Wisconsin Restaurant Association College Culinary Arts Competition in Milwaukee. During the pursuit of her double major at FVTC, she gained industry experience by working as a line cook for Sliders Bar & Grill in Menasha. Johnson-Lachowecki was also part of the student-run Culinary Club at FVTC, where she worked in a leadership role regarding the annual Cultural Cuisine event, one of the college’s largest annual fundraising events.
The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award was established in 2004. It recognizes a pastry chef who has demonstrated exemplary performance in both culinary and leadership skills. More than 1,000 chefs, cooks, students, and food service professionals attend the convention each year.
Established in 1929, the American Culinary Federation represents the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. The organization has more than 17,500 members and nearly 200 chapters, and it offers educational resources, training, apprenticeships, and programmatic accreditation.