After winning a culinary competition at the Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show (held July 15-19 in New Orleans), Pittsburgh-based chef William Racin has been named the best pastry chef in the nation by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

Racin is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef with the American Culinary Federation who studied at The Culinary Institute of America and works for The Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh as its executive pastry chef.

Sponsored this year by Plugrá European Style Butter and CÉMOI Chocolate, the ACF Pastry Chef of the Year Award 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.

The competition pitted four finalists who had been nominated by colleagues and then won their respective regional competitions. They were asked to prepare and serve three items representing the designated theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in just two hours and thirty minutes.

These three items included a cold-plated dessert featuring Iemon, buttermilk, and plum; a signature cookie; and an edible showpiece at least two feet tall, composed 75 percent of either chocolate or sugar work. Racin won the competition with a pistachio cherry spritz cookie; a buttermilk plum crescent featuring cornmeal cake, buttermilk panna cotta, buttermilk lemon sherbet, and plum gelée; and a showpiece consisting of dark chocolate, white chocolate, and pastillage. 

“The American Culinary Federation is pleased to recognize William Racin as our National Pastry Chef of the Year for 2018,” said ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra. “Chef Racin has not only demonstrated considerable skill in the kitchen throughout the competition process this year, but also devoted significant energies to sharing his expertise throughout his career. We thank him for his dedication to advancing the craft of pastry and congratulate him on this exciting accomplishment.”