Laura Johnson-Lachowecki

ACF National Pastry Chef of the Year: 2015

Laura Johnson-Lachowecki, CC, of University of Notre Dame Food Services, Named 2015 American Culinary Federation Pastry Chef of the Year

St. Augustine, Fla., August 12, 2015—The best pastry chef in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation (ACF), is Laura Johnson-Lachowecki, CC, baker at University of Notre Dame Food Services, Notre Dame, Indiana. Johnson-Lachowecki received the title of ACF Pastry Chef of the Year and $5,000 after winning a competition during Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show in Orlando, Florida, July 30-Aug. 3.

The ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter, was established in 2004 and recognizes a pastry chef who displays a passion for the craft, has an accomplished reputation in the pastry field and has helped educate others by sharing skills and knowledge. Three finalists from ACF regions competed at the national convention after first being nominated by colleagues and then winning their respective regional competition.

“I am extremely honored to be named 2015 American Culinary Federation Pastry Chef of the Year,” said Johnson-Lachowecki. “I am humbled to have competed alongside chefs Rodrigo Domingono Nunez Jr. and David Lewis, as they are both very talented and distinguished pastry chefs. Through competitions, I have learned so much and met so many different people. I would not be where I am today without the support of Executive Chef Donald Miller, CEC, CCE, AAC, and others at University of Notre Dame. My chapter, ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association, has also helped me every step of the way. I look forward to a long, active membership with ACF.”

Pastry chefs had 2 hours, 30 minutes, to prep and serve three items: a cold contemporary plated dessert that included key lime and an additional Florida fruit, a signature cookie and a showpiece that was at least 2 feet tall, representing the designated theme Disney princesses. A panel of ACF-approved judges determined the winner.

Winning Menu:
Plated dessert

Key lime-chiffon cheesecake tart with orange sherbet, macerated Florida oranges and Florida ruby red grapefruit gel

Butter cookie with frangipane filling and topped with honey glaze and almonds

The Wonderful World of Disney Princesses featuring various techniques including: modeling chocolate, pastillage and modeling marzipan
Johnson-Lachowecki graduated with honors from Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wisconsin, with an associate degree in culinary arts and hotel restaurant management and a certificate in advanced baking. She is working on her bachelor’s in management from the University of Wisconsin—Stout, Menomonee, Wisconsin. She has received several gold and silver medals in ACF-sanctioned competitions. Her experience includes line cook at Sliders Bar and Grill, Menasha, Wisconsin, and intern and baker/pastry cook at Notre Dame Bakeshop, Notre Dame. In her current capacity, she oversees a staff of eight. She and her staff make the pastries for the catering service and Morris Inn at Notre Dame, a four-star hotel on the university’s campus.

For a list of past ACF Pastry Chef of the Year award winners, click here.

More than 1,000 chefs, cooks, students and foodservice professionals attended Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, hosted by the ACF Central Florida Chapter. The event provided attendees with numerous opportunities to advance their professional development and enhance their culinary skills through informative workshops and seminars, cutting-edge demonstrations, a trade show featuring nearly 100 exhibitors, national competitions and ACF’s annual national awards.

Sponsors of Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Conference & Show are: Allen Brothers; American Technical Publishers; BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.; Canadian Lentils; CaterSource® Magazine, Conference & Tradeshow; Custom Culinary, Inc.; Ecolab®;  J.R. Simplot; Johnson & Wales; Lactalis Foodservice; MINOR’S®; National Watermelon Promotion Board; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; Par-Way Tryson, makers of Vegalene; Plugrá® European-Style Butter; PolyScience®; RATIONAL USA; Roland Foods; Taylor Shellfish Farms; Unilever Food Solutions; US Foods; Valrhona; Victorinox Swiss Army; Villeroy & Boch; Vitamix® Corporation; Western Region State Beef Councils; and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

About the American Culinary Federation
The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning nearly 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit Find ACF on Facebook at and on Twitter @ACFChefs.

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