Dear ACF Members: The American Culinary Federation, our members and the culinary community have lost of one of our finest leaders and ambassadors. L. Edwin Brown, HAAC, HHOF, the ACF’s first executive director (1980-1994) passed away on May 25th, 2018, while at home in St. Augustine, Florida.
Brown’s impact on culinarians is profound. He was a driving force in in the effort to transform chefs from “domestics” to professionals. While an educator in Pennsylvania, Brown created a three-year, 6,000-hour apprenticeship program that established a path for students into a culinary career. This program was adopted by the Army, recognized by the Department of Labor in 1976 and remains the genesis for modern culinary education.
ACF Board President Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, remembers Brown as a guiding force for culinarians, himself included. “It wasn’t only his passion for food, for chefs, for cooking and travel that endeared him to all of us. It was his kindness. He knew everyone’s name. He knew the names of their children. And in turn, everyone knew him. I never went to a competition or event where ‘Uncle Ed’ didn’t have friends everywhere. Any chef who has ever attended culinary school owes him a debt.”
Brown was born in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, and attended Potter High School, Centre Hall. He began his career in foodservice at age 17 at The Nittany Lion Inn on the campus of Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania. He worked in all areas of the inn, receiving room and board and earning enough to cover tuition. Brown received a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration in 1958, and served as the inn’s food and beverage manager 1958-1969. He received a master’s degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, in 1977.
Brown’s many awards and honors include ACFEI’s Educator of the Year Award, 1977; Howard B. Meek Award for Hospitality Educator of Year from the Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education, 1979; honorary membership in the Swiss Chefs Association, 1982; honorary lifetime membership in the German Chefs Association, 1989; an Antonin Carême award from the Chefs Association of the Pacific Coast (now, ACF San Francisco Chapter), 1990; and induction into the Order of the Golden Toque, 1991. In 2000, he was awarded an honorary doctor of business administration degree from Johnson & Wales University, Norfolk, Virginia. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014.
In addition, Brown traveled with ACF Culinary Team to the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung(IKA) in Germany on several occasions as a support staff member. From 1992 to 1996, he served as secretary-general of Worldchefs.
Please join us in honoring and remembering L. Edwin Brown, HAAC, HHOF.