Faculty Members Honored by American Culinary Federation

By: Desiree Massei

February 8, 2017

The American Culinary Federation’s Inland Empire (ACF-IE) Chapter held its January 2017 General Meeting and Awards Ceremony on Monday, January 30. The evening featured the induction of new ACF-IE Board Members as well as an awards ceremony honoring two faculty members from The Art Institute of California–Inland Empire, a campus of Argosy University.

Pictured: Chef George Tucker and Chef Clifton Lee Van On of The Art Institute of California—Inland Empire

Educator of the Year: Chef George Tucker
Instructor Chef George Tucker was named Educator of the Year, in recognition of his unwavering persistence, passion, and drive to share his professional expertise and knowledge with students. Drawing on more than 55 years of experience in the culinary world at restaurants, country clubs, hotels, casinos, and more, Chef Tucker has taught a variety of culinary courses at Ai Inland Empire, including Latin Cuisine, Garde Manger, and A la Carte, a popular course which involves students working in the school’s student-run restaurant.

Chef Tucker—an ACF member since 1971 and a certified executive chef since 1990—is also known for hosting workshops designed to help students improve their knife skills, enhance their portfolios, and prepare for industry success.

Chef of the Year: Chef Clifton Lee Van On
Taking home Chef of the Year was Chef Clifton Lee Van On, the Academic Director of Culinary Programs at Ai Inland Empire. Chef Lee Van On is also an experienced chef who has dedicated more than 20 years to the culinary and restaurant management industries.

Among students and faculty, Chef Lee Van On is a respected mentor for many, someone who always encourages his students to strive for success and is committed to creating one-of-a-kind experiences for both faculty and students. He regularly participates in community events showcasing the culinary program and skills of our students. Most recently, Chef Lee Van On assisted in the 2016 James Beard Foundation Thanksgiving Holiday Table event in New York City, working alongside other chefs and students from across The Art Institutes system of schools.

Chef Lee Van On was also inducted as a Board Member and Treasurer during the ACF-IE meeting.

Honoring Faculty and Graduate Success
The Vice President of the Western Region for ACF, Chef Carlton W. Brooks, CEPC, CCE, AAC, attended the meeting and recognized both Chefs on their accomplishment. Awards were also given for Junior Chef of the Year and Purveyor of the Year.

The meeting was held Provecho Grill in Menifee, CA, with a menu of Chapulines & Chicharrones (Lime Fried Crickets & Pork Crackle), Sopa de Frijolito Negro, Barbacoa Short Ribs, and Churros with Chocolate. The Chef and Owner of Provecho Grill, Rosie O’Connor, is a 2009 Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts Graduate of The Art Institute of California—San Diego and has worked with Ai Inland Empire in the past for the Chef Open in Temecula. She is an advocate of education and passionate about working in the culinary field.

Get more information on the ACF-IE chapter here, or check out the Ai Inland Empire Culinary degree programs today.


Pictured: The Vice President of the Western Region for ACF poses with Ai grad Chef O’Connor and faculty members Chef Lee Van On and Chef Tucker. 

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By: Desiree Massei

February 8, 2017