St. Augustine, Fla., April 17, 2014—Keith E. Buerker, CEC®, CCE®, professor at SUNY Cobleskill, Cobleskill, N.Y., was named the best culinary educator in the Northeast, according to the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Buerker, of Central Bridge, N.Y., received the ACF Northeast Region Chef Educator of the Year Award at the 2014 ACF Northeast Regional Conference held in Warwick, R.I., April 11–14.

“It’s hard to believe that almost 30 years ago I began teaching culinary arts at a small private college in upstate New York,” said Buerker. “I have never regretted my career choice as an educator. With so many wonderful educators deserving of such a prestigious award, receiving the 2014 ACF Northeast Region Chef Educator of the Year award came as a complete surprise. As a member of ACF I have learned strong core values and it is with great honor that I accept this award.”

The ACF Chef Educator of the Year Award, established in 1998, pays tribute to an active culinary educator whose knowledge, skills and expertise has enhanced the image of the professional chef, and who, by example, has provided guidance to students seeking a career in the culinary profession.

Buerker has been a professor at SUNY Cobleskill since 1992. His courses include advanced catering management, facilities operations management, menu planning, restaurant practicum and American cuisine. He holds a master’s in education from SUNY University at Albany, Albany, N.Y., and a bachelor’s degree in hotel, resort and tourism management from Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, N.H. His experience includes assistant professor at Paul Smith’s College, Paul Smiths, N.Y. and director of operations at Ramada Inns, Inc., Atlanta. Buerker has competed in numerous ACF-sanctioned national and international competitions and received several gold and silver medals. In 2008, and 2010, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award from SUNY Cobleskill. A member of ACF Capital District–Central New York, Buerker was awarded Chapter Chef of the Year in 1988.

Buerker was one of four Northeast Region candidates competing for the award. He will vie for the national title at the 2014 ACF National Convention in Kansas City, July 25–29. The four regional finalists will have 50 minutes to present a lecture and demonstration for a panel of judges on either a plated entree or dessert, including preparation of two portions of the item.

Approximately 500 chefs, students and foodservice professionals attended ACF’s Northeast Regional Conference, hosted by ACF Rhode Island Chapter. During the conference, attendees were able to advance their professional development through business seminars, cooking demonstrations focused on how to incorporate green and sustainable cooking concepts into restaurant kitchens, culinary competitions and awards. Learn more about the conference at www.acfchefs.org/Northeast, or at Facebook.com/ACFChefs or on Twitter @ACFChefs.

Regional and national sponsors of the 2014 ACF event series are: Alabama Gulf Seafood; Allen Brothers; American Technical Publishers; Barilla Foodservice; Barry Callebaut; BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.; California Avocado Commission; Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute; Central Region State Beef Councils; Custom Culinary, Inc.; Ecolab®; Evo, Inc.; Fabbri USA 1905, LLC; Fortune Fish Company; Ghirardelli Chocolate Company; Gordon Food Service®; Idaho® Potato Commission; J.R. Simplot Company; JTM Food Group; Johnson & Wales University; Jones Dairy Farm; Kern Meat Co., Inc.; Lactalis Foodservice; Lang Manufacturing Company; Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc.; Mercer Cutlery; MINOR’S®; Monini North America, Inc.; Mooney Farms; Moore Food Distribution; National Pasteurized Eggs, Inc.; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative; Ole Tyme Produce Inc.; Par-Way Tryson, makers of Vegalene; Performance Foodservice; Plugrá® European-Style Butter; Publix Super Markets; RC Fine Foods; R.L. Schreiber, Inc.; Rosenthal Sambonet USA Ltd; S&D Coffee; Saint Louis Chefs de Cuisine Education Foundation; Sartori Company; Sysco®; The Beef Checkoff; Tyson Food Service; Unilever Food Solutions; US Foods; Valrhona; Villeroy & Boch; Vitamix® Corporation; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.