McGuire named Chef of the Year

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Move over Chef G. Garvin and Pat and Gina Neely, there is a new chef on the scene and his name is Chef Kevin R. McGuire. McGuire, a North Braddock native and student in the Foodservices, Lodging and Recreation Management program at the Community College of Allegheny County Boyce Campus, won the 2009 American Culinary Federation, Pittsburgh Chapter Chef of the Year Award.

Passionate about what he does and excited about receiving the award, McGuire said, “Not just anyone receives a nomination. But I was chosen because they say I elicit high standers as a chef in my establishment, uphold standards set by my colleagues and devote my time to the culinary field and the ACFPC.”

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A HAPPY MOMENT —Kevin McGuire thanks the American Culinary Federation Pittsburgh Chapter for naming him 2009 Chef of the year.

McGuire is well respected by all members of the federation as a chef. “He is a professional culinary expert and participants in functions of the organization as well as leads events,” said Andrea Schrenk, president of the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter.

A member of the organization since 1991, he has served as sergeant-at-arms under three ACF presidential terms and is the recipient of many certificates of appreciation from the former presidents including the 2008 Community Involvement and Mentor Award.

Considering his specialty as Southern cuisine with a French twist, McGuire credits his grandmother for showing him how to cook. “She wanted me to be able to support myself and my family,” he said. He explained that he attended a trade school, Forbes Trail in 1977, where he still volunteers. “I took up cooking because I wanted to be with the girls,” he joked. “I started learning about simmering, something that came from the slave days, because food had to cook slow, waiting for the slaves to come in from the fields. Aiming to cook for Ellen, Oprah and Tyler Perry, he said he can make anyone’s favorite dish and name it after them. “I put my own twist on food or other people’s recipes.

McGuire joined the Army in 1987. His first tour of duty was in Camp Darby, Italy, in 1998. He received a Letter of Commendation and Letter of Appreciation for successful food services mission. His second tour of duty was Kaiserslauter, Germany, in 1996 where he received a Certificate of Achievement from the 37th Transportation Command, Europe, for food service dedication. His third tour of duty was Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in 2003-04, where he received Army Achievement Medal for Outstanding Service as Squad Leader and Food Service Mess Section in 2004. His fourth tour of duty was Q-West, Iraq, in 2005-2007. He received Certificate of Wartime Service from the 101st Airborne Division, Combat Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Overseas Service Ribbon in 2005-2007.

A religious man with strong family values, McGuire says he could not have accomplished anything without his wife, Melissa, and two children, 16-year-old Kevin Jr. and 22-year-old daughter Melanie. During the annual awards dinner benefiting the William Foust Educational Scholarship, held at the St. Clair Country Club, McGuire hosted two tables inclusive of his minister, Pastor Robert Young of New Hope Baptist church in Braddock.

“My family is my rock,” said McGuire, pointing out that he, his wife and daughter attend the Boyce Campus. “This promotes professionalism, education and mentorship,” he pointed out.

Unlike most chefs McGuire’s goal is not to own a restaurant or to work in a country club. “My goal is to publish a cookbook based on bringing the family together inclusive of scriptures.

“We enjoy doing volunteer work and have assisted a lot of students throughout the years. It does our heart good when students contact us and say they are now working and doing well as top chefs in places like New York or Florida.”

McGuire also has goals to be a minister. “My father was a minister,” he said. “I want to work with youth. But I will do what ever the Lord tells me to do. I want to teach youth how to eat properly.” He says his mentor is Jesus. “He had a liking for food.”

The second Black chef to win Chef of the Year in the ACFPC history, McGuire said he is happy to stand on the shoulders of William Stenson. The ACFPC is a local chapter of the American Culinary Federation, the nation’s only organization dedicated to the promotion of education, excellence, certification, professionalism and collegiality within the foodservice industry.

The ACFPC exists to serve its local membership and community while upholding the mission statement of the ACF National.

Proud of their accomplishments throughout the community, McGuire points out that he has won first place for the “The Best Grilled Sandwich” at the sixth annual Renzie Park Cook Off in 2007 and won top honors for the “Chili Cook-off at the second annual Forrest Hills Rotary fundraising event in 2008.

“These ribs are falling off the bone,” said the maintenance crew and security staff at the Boyce Campus as McGuire demonstrates his cooking skills. “I’ve never tasted anything so good.”

(Looking forward to the upcoming catering season, McGuire says he can be reached by calling 412-271-8332.)

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