Congratulations to Chef Les Eckert – ACF Southeast Educator of the Year

Congratulations to Chef Les Eckert – ACF Southeast Educator of the Year

Congratulations to Chef Les Eckert, CWPC, CCE of the ACF Tampa Bay Chapter for being selected as the ACF Southeast Educator of the Year! Good luck les when you go to Las Vegas to win it all. We are all so proud of you!!

Chef Les Eckert, in the culinary industry for 19 years, is a Certified Working Pastry Chef and Certified Culinary Educator at The Art Institute of Tampa. Chef Eckert has a BA in Culinary Management and a MBA with an emphasis in Hospitality Management. She has been an active member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) since 1992.

Chef Eckert’s Tampa Bay work experiences have included Valentine’s Artisan Bread House, Mise En Place Restaurant and Tampa Marriott Waterside. In 2002, Chef Eckert started additional endeavors that included her own dessert catering business, Simply Decadent, and teaching pastry classes at Publix Aprons Cooking School and private venues. Joining The Art Institute of Tampa in 2007, Chef Eckert began teaching entry and advanced level Pastry Art classes as a Chef Instructor for the school’s Baking and Pastry Diploma and Associates Degree programs.

A Florida native, Chef Eckert’s passion for cooking and baking were inspired by her Mom’s own culinary interests. That inspiration has offered her cherished experiences including teaching students, coaching the school’s culinary competition team, being part of a new hotel bakeshop, baking for 2,200+ guest functions and for high profile guests and events such as government dignitaries, the 2002 and 2009 NFL Superbowl Games, the 2009 Taste of the NFL, the Olympic Planning Committee, Tampa Bay Lightning home games, creating the Cirque du Soleil’s celebration cake for the 5000th performance of Saltimbanco and the 2012 Clearwater Jazz Festival.

Taking pride in her community, Chef Eckert supports charities such as the annual Great American Teach-In where she speaks on the science and history of food. Chef Eckert has led her students for the charity event, The Gourmet Feastival benefiting The Center. She has also been a Pastry Coach for Habitat for Humanity benefits, the Escoffier Dinner, as well as the Student Culinary Competition Team. Chef Eckert has also been a Culinary Judge for ProStart High School Culinary competitions.

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