History of the Chicago Club Chefs
and the Club Chef Association of America

The CCA was founded in 1989 by a small group of club chefs in the Chicago area. Their main focus was to promote and represent their profession in the specialized club industry. They were the first organization dedicated to raising the awareness of the club chef and elevating their status within the industry. As the association evolved, so did its mission and purpose. In order for the profession to progress, the individual member not only needed greater knowledge in the ever-changing culinary art but also in the specialized management of the club setting. It was clear to the early founders their purpose had developed and expanded into something that no other group offered and the association was born.

The founding principles of the association continue to be the focal point today. As the culinary profession advances and expands, so do the needs and wants of the professional chef. As the club environment and membership evolve, the professional chef needs to adapt his or her management practices to succeed. The CCAA continues to offer a platform where members can successfully share knowledge, ideas and practices that help the individual member to effectively meet their professional needs.

The CCAA offers educational opportunities like culinary exchanges, specialized institutes, culinary themed travel, roundtable discussions, and competitions where members network and learn from other professionals. There is no other group that is dedicated helping the club chef succeed.

Chicago Club Chefs Past Presidents

Keith Nelson              1989-1993

Phil Hilliard               1993-1995

Scott Roberts             1995-1997

Michael Howe           1997-1999

Peter Panzica             1999-2001

Donald Doubek         2001-2003

Donald Smith             2003-2005

Adam Houska             2005-2007

Garry Gutierrez         2007-2009

Matt Southard             2010-2011

Nathan Skrocki           2011-2012

James Terry                2012-2013
Matthew Hinkle 2014-2016
Thomas Birmingham 2016-2018
James Kremer 2019-2021
Laura Herman 2022-2023

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