Chef Lenny Messina, CEPC was recently awarded the American Culinary Federation's (ACF) President's Medallion, one of only 60 chefs nationwide to receive the honor. ACF President's Medallions are awarded to ACF members who exemplify culinary excellence and leadership and who have contributed their knowledge, skills and expertise to the advancement of the culinary profession.

"I am honored to be recognized by my peers," says Messina. "I feel that winning an award like this shows my students that hard work and dedication is recognized."

Messina, who has taught at Star Career Academy for more than 12 years, is a Certified Pastry Chef with more than 30 years of total experience. Messina was also named the ACF's 2009 Instructor of the Year. He previously worked for 20 years as executive pastry chef for Lehman Brothers' executive dining room in New York until the company declared bankruptcy.

"Teaching is his passion second only to baking, and fortunately for us and his future students, Chef Lenny decided to join Star full time in 2008," says Chef Victory McNulty, regional culinary chair of Star Career Academy.

That passion to teach is evident every day at Star Career Academy, according to McNulty, Messina's co-workers and students.

Over the past several months, Messina's classes donated baked goods to help feed the less fortunate on Thanksgiving and helped feed hundreds more that lost their homes to hurricane Sandy.

"Star Career Academy was generous in allowing me to do this good work with our students," says Messina. "I enjoy passing on the knowledge I have acquired in the past 30 years. I love it when a student learns to make something and they feel a sense of accomplishment. Nothing is more satisfying than watching my students succeed in the pastry and baking world."