Mary Petersen, founder and executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ), has been named Chef Educator of the Year in the 2009-2010 Cordon d’Or-Gold Ribbon Annual International “Cookbooks & Culinary Arts” Culinary Academy Awards. Noreen Kinney, founder and president of the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Cordon d’Or, will honor Petersen and recipients of other award categories at a reception on April 30 at the Don CeSar Resort in St. Pete Beach.
“The Academy was impressed with Mary’s long history of contributions to the culinary-educational field, and felt she definitely deserved recognition on both the national and international culinary stage,” Kinney says. “We are very pleased to present her with a Cordon d’Or-Gold Ribbon Culinary Academy Award.”
Petersen has devoted 25 years to promoting the professional development of foodservice educators. The successful director of a prominent business school in the 1970s and early 80s, she was enlisted by the St. Augustine, Fla.-based American Culinary Federation Educational Institute (ACFEI) in 1985 to pioneer the development of accreditation criteria based on minimum standards for formal culinary and baking/pastry training programs in the United States.
During her 13 years as ACF’s accreditation director, the association grew to become the foremost accrediting entity in the foodservice industry. In 1999 Petersen cofounded the Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) with Talcott Communications Corporation in Chicago and helped establish the first and still only national publication for foodservice educators, Chef Educator Today.
Five years after launching FENI, Petersen founded the Annapolis, MD-based Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ), which specializes in providing needed resources to educators by linking them with the foodservice industry. Through its online e-zine, The Gold Medal Classroom, its www.CafeMeetingPlace.com website and its series of regional skills and learning workshops, CAFÉ works to address the needs of professionals who wear two hats as culinarians and teachers.
“It is so appropriate that Mary receive this very special inaugural award,” says Carol Kizer, CCE, RD, FMP, HAAC, chair emeritus of the Hospitality Management Department at Columbus State Community College, Columbus, Ohio, and past president of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (International CHRIE). “She is truly the pioneer whose forward thinking and passion for high-quality foodservice and culinary education led her to organize and expand professional-development opportunities for culinary educators across the country. Her untiring efforts, superior organizational skills and innovative ideas continue to benefit today’s educators and our future culinarians.”
Petersen is a past president and treasurer of the International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC), which in 2007 awarded her the “Betty” for outstanding service to the organization. She currently serves on several advisory boards of postsecondary culinary-arts programs