For the second consecutive year, it was our pleasure at Eli’s to host the May meeting of the Windy City Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Over 70 chefs and other culinarians came to Eli’s on a beautiful May evening for a presentation by Pastry Chef Instructor Laura Ragano of the French Pastry School at the City Colleges of Chicago.

Pastry Chef Instructor Laura Ragano awed the audience with an Educational Seminar and Demonstration on Creative Cheesecake Applications using Cake Decorating Techniques.

Ragano, a graduate of the University of Michigan, first experienced work in a restaraurant at Cafe Patou, a French bistro in her hometown of Rockford. She then entered the Culinary Institute of America, where after graduating at the top of her class, decided to focus on the pastry arts. After spending two years at Bin 36, she enrolled in The French Pastry School’s L’Art de la Patisserie program. Upon graduation in 2003, Ragano was invited to join the faculty of school. Promoted to Chef
Instructor in January 2005, Ragano leads the school’s wedding cake and gum paste class and also oversees many aspects of the school’s operations, including curriculum development, kitchen management and intern coordination.

The success of the event and the growth of the Windy City Chapter of the ACF is due to the strong leadership of Chapter President Michael Garbin (pictured in the middle) who is the Executive Chef of the Union League Club.

The ACF event at Eli’s was coordinated at Eli’s by Regional Sales Manager, Mary Beth Jakstys. Above Mary Beth is pictured with Eli’s Chef Antonio Rivera who created a dinner buffet that followed the presentation.

Men in Black visit the Eli’s R & D Kitchen. Chef Sebestian of the French Pastry School and associates greet Eli’s Director of R&D, Diana Moles, and Eli’s Executive Vice President, Jolene Worthingon.

Eli’s Vice President of Marketing Debbie Marchok and Eli’s Marketing Manager, Sarah Zupancic, thank Josh Van Roekel for his outstanding work as an intern.

Eli’s Mary Beth Jakystys and Jennifer Doezie thank Sandy Mulay of Heck Estates for providing wines from Kenwood Vineyards, Valley Of The Moon Winery and Lake Sonoma Winery for the event.


The success of the evening would not have been possible without the strong support of Durst-Insight, Eli’s Foodservice Sales Agents in Chicago and the State of Illinois. Here Mike Jay and Frank Pinn enjoy the reception following the presentation.

Eli’s Big Top was a perfect gathering spot for the chefs and culinarians to sample Eli’s newest dessert offerings many of which will be introduced next week at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

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