First-year GRCC culinary-arts students flank APPCA's Candy Wallace (holding her Leadership Award) and chef-instructor Audrey Heckwolf, who will teach the new personal/private-chef elective that launches at The Secchia Institute in Grand Rapids in January 2010.

Candy Wallace, founder and executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), was honored by The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), Grand Rapids, Mich., with the culinary-arts program's 2009 Leadership Award on Nov. 9.

The award, which acknowledges Wallace's pioneering contributions to identifying, building and promoting the emerging career paths of personal and private chef, was founded by GRCC's Hospitality Education Department in 1990 as the Distinguished Fellow Award. Past recipients include television cooking personalities and authors Martin Yan and Graham Kerr as well as foodservice-industry luminaries and celebrity chefs from abroad.

Wallace founded the American Personal Chef Association in 1996 as the first significant national effort to recognize the impact of personal chefs on Americans' evolving lifestyles and to provide career and management training to those who aspire to become personal chefs with their own businesses. She forged the positioning of personal chefs as culinary professionals, culminating in 2002 with a formal partnership with the American Culinary Federation to award certification to qualified personal chefs. The following year, she was honored with the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2006, Wallace earned additional industry accolades by formally acknowledging the contributions of private chefs to American society and addressing their specific professional needs by restructuring her organization to become the American Personal & Private Chef Association.