L’Academie de Cuisine (LAC) is proud to announce that two alumni were nominated for the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards. Chef Nick Stefanelli graduated from LAC’s culinary-arts program in 2001 and completed his externship with Galileo Restaurant under the direction of Chef Roberto Donna. In 2003, he accepted a position at Maestro, a four-star restaurant in Tysons Corner, Va. Under Chef Fabio Trabocchi, Stefanelli cultivated a talent for cooking and expanded his knowledge of the nuances of Italian cuisine. Stefanelli also staged at Thomas Keller's world renowned French Laundry in Napa Valley in 2004.
Stefanelli went with Trabocchi to New York City in 2007, where he was chef de cuisine at Fiamma. Here Stefanelli was able to establish his own cooking style blending the culinary heritage of Italy with his own modern sensibilities, crafting his unique brand of gourmet artistry. Stefanelli returned to Washington and in July 2009 was tapped to be the new executive chef for Bibiana.
Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park in New York City graduated from LAC’s professional pastry-arts program in 2006. Before she ever knew she wanted to be a pastry chef, Pinkerton majored in biology at Kent State. She began her career in pastry in college with a job decorating cakes at a local bakery. After graduating, she decided to become a pastry chef and enrolled in LAC’s pastry-arts program. “At L’Academie de Cuisine I learned the foundations of my craft and the paramount importance of patience in the pastry kitchen from [former] chef-instructor Mark Ramsdell,” Pinkerton said. “Chef Mark taught me the basics. He has amazing patience, which is so important, and really focuses on doing things properly. I’m big on that. You have to be determined. If you really want something you can have it. You can get it. You can work toward it. It's about determination and want. And staying true to what you believe.”
From L’Academie, Pinkerton completed her externship in the pastry kitchen of The Ritz-Carlton in Arlington, Va., before making the move to New York City, where she eventually became executive pastry chef at Eleven Madison Park. And it’s at this four-star restaurant that Pinkerton collaborates closely with Chef Daniel Humm to create desserts that are at once sophisticated, seasonal and delicious, perfectly complementing the restaurant’s modern French cuisine.