Wind Creek chef honored

Published 3:56 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wind Creek Chef Stafford DeCambra was recently honored by the American Academy of Chefs.|Submitted Photo

To be honored by the American Academy of Chefs you have to be more than just a cook — and Stafford DeCambra of Atmore is much more than a cook.

DeCambra was recently honored by the AAC, which is an honor society of the American Culinary Federation, by being award the groups Chair’s Medal. The honor came during the 40th annual induction reception during the ACF National Convention held recently in Dallas, Tex.

DeCambra, the corporate executive chef at PCI Gaming Authority, has extensive culinary experience in his background and has dedicated his career to enhancing the culinary world and future chefs.

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After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1978, DeCambra worked in several foodservice venues in his home state of Hawaii, from chef de cuisine at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Kohala Coast to executive chef at Kona Surf Resort and Country Club in Kailua Kona, and as corporate executive chef for American Classic Voyages, headquartered in Chicago. He currently serves as corporate executive chef for Poarch Creek Indians, overseeing culinary operations for three properties — Creek Casino Wetumpka in Wetumpka, Tallapoosa Casino in Montgomery and Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore.

The resume of DeCambra is extensive with honors and awards from a variety of culinary groups. He served as vice chair of AAC from 2007 to 2011 and was recently elected chair for the July 2011-July 2013 term. He was inducted into the Epicurean World Master Chef Society in 2005. In addition, he has won more than 60 gold medals, plaques and food awards in various hot and cold culinary salon competitions, nationally and internationally. Most recently, he won gold medals at the Expogast—Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup 2010 in Luxembourg. He is a member of ACF Poarch Creek Chapter, Inc., and has been an AAC member since 1991.

The Chair’s Medal is presented annually to an AAC Fellow who has demonstrated exemplary dedication and made outstanding contributions to the culinary profession. This individual has also maintained the highest standards and ideals of the AAC and has significantly and positively worked to ensure excellence among future culinarians.

The AAC, which recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to both the culinary profession and ACF, was established in 1955 at the ACF National Convention in Pittsburgh. Those credited with its founding include Pierre Berard, Peter Berrini and Paul Laesecke, AAC, HOF.

Out of more than 20,000 ACF members, approximately 850 belong to the AAC. To become a member, chefs must be nominated by two current AAC members and complete the required application process. Some of the standards applicants must pass are: be an ACF-certified chef for no fewer than two years; be in the culinary profession for no less than 15 years, with 10 of the 15 years as an executive chef at a full-service restaurant or at least five years for a culinary educator; be an ACF member for a minimum of 10 consecutive years; and have attended any combination of four ACF regional conferences and/or national conventions. In addition, applicants must fulfill at least 10 of the 20 elective attainable goals. Only 20 chefs will be inducted into the Academy this year.