Timothy Bucci, certified executive chef, certified culinary educator and associate chef-instructor at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Ill., received the 2009 American Culinary Federation (ACF) Central Region Chef Educator of the Year award at this year's ACF Central Regional Conference held in Schaumburg, Ill., Feb. 21 to 23. The award honors an active culinary educator whose knowledge, skills and expertise have provided leadership and guidance to culinary students.

(l to r) David Russell, ACF's central regional vice president and Timothy Bucci

Bucci was executive chef at House of Hughes, Crestwood, Ill., before joining the faculty at Joliet Junior College. He holds an associate degree from Joliet Junior College in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree in restaurant hospitality and institutional management from Purdue University Calument, Hammond, Ind. He is a member of ACF Louis Joliet chapter and an ACF-certified culinary judge. He was awarded Educator of the Year from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago in 2001 and 2004. As a competitor, Bucci was a gold medalist in individual competition at the 2008 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) competition in Erfurt, Germany. He also competed at the IKA "culinary Olympics" in Germany in 2004, where he was a silver medalist.

As recipient of the Central Region Educator of the Year award, Bucci will compete for the national title against three other candidates at the 2009 ACF National Convention in Orlando, Fla., July 11 to 14. Candidates will participate in a lecture and demonstration for a panel of judges who will decide the winner.