By Rebecca E. TonnAugust 21, 2007
FORT CARSON, Colo. (Army News Service, Aug. 21, 2007) - The American Academy of Chefs inducted Chief Warrant Officer 4 David J. Longstaff, senior mission command food advisor and a certified executive chef, into their honor society July 20 at the Marriott Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
An induction into the AAC is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to both the culinary profession and the American Culinary Federation. Out of 19,000 ACF members, only 800 have been inducted into the AAC honor society, and Chief Longstaff is the third military person to receive this honor.
"I've been trying to bridge the gap between military and civilian food service for a long time," said Chief Longstaff. "I wanted to take what I'd learned in the Army and see how it would transition in the civilian world."
Chief Longstaff enlisted in the Army as a cook in 1984 and attended the Warrant Officer Candidate Course in 1995. He attributes his success in the civilian culinary arena to positions he has held in the Army and opportunities to compete internationally, and said he pursued culinary arts and judging because he gets to work with and mentor Soldiers.
"I tell young Soldiers to taste everything and ask themselves if they would pay for the food they'd prepared in a high-end restaurant," he said. "If the answer is 'no,' then they go back to the kitchen and try again.
"The looks on their faces, when they gain confidence and realize they are creative and gifted chefs - that's what cooking is all about. I try to keep them interested and motivated, so they will get to the next level. In turn, they prepare better food for Soldiers in the dining facilities," he added.
"He is well-respected in the culinary community. I hold him in high regard," said Roland Schaeffer, a retired certified executive chef, AAC inductee and 1991 ACF National Chef of the Year winner. "He is an excellent professional, with strong goals and ideals. Chef Longstaff is passionate in his support of the military and the American Culinary Federation."
Chief Longstaff's passion for cooking began when he was a child and his parents, who worked outside the home, would leave dinner recipes on the counter for him and his brother to cook.
A sample menu for one of his summer dinner parties might include spring salad with a walnut vinaigrette dressing and hickory-smoked sharp white cheddar, watermelon soup (hot or cold), stuffed chicken breast and grilled chicken sausage. A steeped-rose-petal sorbet would cleanse the palate, followed by fresh vanilla bean ice cream, apple pie and chocolate truffles for dessert.
He has been a member of the ACF since 1986, a certified executive chef since 2003 and a certified culinary judge since 2005. He was the first servicemember to be awarded the Lt. Gen. John D. McLaughlin trophy by the ACF in 2006.
Chief Longstaff has competed in culinary competitions since 1987. He managed the U. S. Army Culinary Arts Team from 2003-2006, when the team won 33 medals at the 2004 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany; the junior team also won silver and bronze medals while competing in England in 2005. He also served as a judge and show chair for the U.S. Army Culinary Competition for three years.
(Rebecca E. Tonn writes for the Fort Carson "Mountaineer.")