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Chef Edward G. Leonard, Cmc, Aac

Celebrity Chef

Chef Edward G. Leonard, CMC, AAC is the immediate past President of the American Culinary Federation and Executive Chef at the famed Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York. Chef Leonard has spent the last 25 years working in the cooking profession and is one of only 72 Certified Master Chefs in the United States.

His family is from Naples, Italy and he was taught a long time ago that we live to eat, whereas in other countries people eat to live. Good food is life, and life is good food. Chef Leonard's family plays a big role, and their support and love helps him through many tough days.

Culinary Arts

At the Johnson & Wales University graduation ceremonies in May 2005, Chef Leonard received an honorary doctorate of Culinary Arts and delivered the commencement address. Leonard said, "It is quite humbling and different to be called 'doctor.' The title that means most to me in my heart and soul is 'chef.'" He urged the graduates to consider themselves artists, as the culinary arts "is one of the few crafts left that technology doesn't have a machine for; steaks don't fly out of the computer."

And while the students had completed their formal studies at Johnson & Wales, Leonard told them, "Your education has just begun. You will stand next to other culinarians and watch what they do. Find a kitchen that will teach, direct and nurture you to be the best you can be. You bring your youthful energy, enthusiasm and passion to learn and contribute to the kitchen brigade."

"Passion," Leonard said, "is the buzzword. Most people don't know the meaning; true passion lies within your heart. If you are excited to step in the kitchen, to work with food, to cook, to write menus ... if you are thinking of food, dreaming of it, taking notes at 2 in the morning when you wake up with an idea ... that is passion."

His passion for the culinary arts combined with a keen sense for competition has netted Doctor Edward G. Leonard over 30 Gold Medals in a variety of national and international competitions. Leveraging his proven leadership, expect more of the same when he will once more captain the ACF Culinary Team USA in 2008.

Chef Edward G. Leonard is the immediate past president of the American Culinary Federation, executive chef of The Westchester Country Club--the 14th top-ranked platinum club in the United States--and the vice president of the World Association of Cooks Societies.

He is one of only 60 Certified Master Chefs in the United States and a member of the World Master Chef Society.

Chef Leonard has extensive experience as an educator, speaker, manager, cook, restaurant owner and executive chef.

Chef Leonard is an incredible speaker and motivator with great passion and a display of leadership that is rare.

He is the manager and team captain of ACF Culinary Team USA 2008, and was the 2004 captain for the world hot-kitchen champions that finished with one of only four gold medals out of 32 teams and the grand-prize winner in the restaurant category. The team finished third out of 32 International teams behind Sweden and Switzerland at the weeklong Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung, or "Culinary Olympics," in Erfurt, Germany, October 2004. Under Leonard's guidance, the American culinary team performed at the highest level since 1988. The team is now ranked third in the world.

Leonard is the author of Tastes and Tales of Chef: The Apprentice's Journey (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005), featuring great culinary stories from his apprenticeship to becoming a master chef, along with 150 tasty recipes. He is also the author of Cooking with America's Championship Team: Sizzling Recipes from Chef Edward G. Leonard, CMC, and the American Championship Culinary Team (Feeding Frenzy, 2005), released in May 2005.

He is the author of a new and exciting book, Private Club Cuisine: Cooking with a Master Chef, due out in early 2006 by John Wiley & Sons. Additionally, Leonard is working on a culinary-competition book scheduled for release in the summer of 2005, and a garde-manger and cold-kitchen book due out in 2006.

He has won many medals and trophies for his cooking ability and received recognitions from his peers and culinary colleges, as well as associations. In May 2005, Leonard received an honorary doctorate in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.

He is considered one of the top chefs in the country and a leader for the industry, and is invited to speak all over the world in regards to the profession and American cuisine.

He was the featured speaker in Ireland at the 2004 World Association of Cooks Societies Congress and a speaker at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore in April 2004, while also judging the Taste of Asia competition. His presence was so well received that he returned to the Gourmet Summit in Singapore in April 2005 to partake in a gourmet foie-gras dinner and to cook and give presentations to Singapore chefs and culinary students.

In November 2004 he was given the honor of being inducted into the Antonin Careme Society at a private diner in San Francisco.