ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
Membership Chair Chef Liz Giménez
Chef Giménez grew up in Venezuela and moved to the States when she turned 19 to go to college. She won a scholarship to study Business Administration at Southern Oregon University. While in college she became the assistant to the Pastry Chef in the college dining facility. She was responsible for producing desserts and pastries for 3,500 students, teachers, and staff. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration-Management.
After moving to Indiana Chef Giménez enrolled in the Second Helpings Culinary Job Training Program and graduated from class #33. Chef Liz was soon employed at Elements Restaurant where she was responsible for preparing the restaurant’s desserts and pastries. At the same time she attended culinary school at Ivy Tech to further her culinary education. In 2005 Chef Liz became a ServSafe® certified instructor. Currently she teaches the class in both English and Spanish.
In July 2005 Chef Giménez was hired as the Director of the Hunger Relief Program at Second Helpings. She now manages the production of nearly 4,000 meals a day in the Hunger Relief kitchen. She works with donated perishable and overstocked food to prepare nutritious meals for thousands of hungry children and adults every day. Second Helpings distributes the meals free of charge through local social service agencies in the Greater Indianapolis area.
Chef Giménez became a Certified Chef de Cuisine in 2015 and serves as the membership chair for the ACF Greater Indianapolis chapter.
She volunteers at the Indianapolis Broad Ripple Art Center in the ceramics department, and serves as a Board Member for her neighborhood association and crime watch prevention. Chef Giménez loves doing pottery, traveling, trying new foods from far away places and creating new desserts.
ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
Secretary Chef Susanne Grier
I was born in Naperville, Illinois as the youngest of three siblings, but I was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. My family began calling me “The Midnight Baker” after my Aunt Arlene gave me a kid’s cookbook because I would stay up late trying out new recipes. My family enjoyed my adventures in baking, except maybe my mother, who always loathed cleaning up after me! In high school, I moved to Colorado, where I got my first job in a kitchen being a dishwasher and line cook. My dad said that being a chef wasn’t a “real job,” and the culinary world wasn’t a “real profession,” so I went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I got my Bachelors in Fine Art and certification in teaching. I really thought I was going to go on to get my Masters in Fine Art and then teach, but after graduation, I explored other options.
I thought I wanted to do event planning after completing an internship in New York City with an artist in a PR agency who worked with non-profits. However, I felt pulled back into the restaurant business, where I began bartending, waiting tables, and cooking for a few years before I decided to go back to school for culinary.
I attended Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. While there, I became an Executive Chef while earning three Associates degrees in Culinary Arts, Baking Pastry, and Professional Catering. I also studied abroad in Paris, focusing on the art of French pastry. While there, I learned a lot about the French agriculture and procurement businesses and developed a passion for cheese. After graduating, I received the opportunity to become a corporate chef for Aramark, but my food service director gave me some valuable advice; if I stayed the path with Aramark, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my passion for pastry. So, I searched for jobs as a pastry chef. I received offers in New York and even an offer from Disney, but then, I met my husband, Matt.
Matt lived in Dayton, so I moved to start my life and career near him. I became the Secretary of the Dayton ACF Chapter and worked at a retirement community as the head pastry chef for a few years before marrying Matt and changing jobs to become the head pastry chef at Kroger. I became the advisor to the Cultural Council at the store to ensure unification, to help with complex problem solving, and to educate employees on different cultural backgrounds to create a more diversified workspace. I worked for Kroger for a few years before my husband was transferred for work to Columbus, Indiana.
We moved to Indianapolis, where I contemplated how to marry my main passions: education and pastry arts (and cheese). I accepted a job to create the pastries for the NFL Honors for the Super Bowl and completed some freelance work before obtaining a job as a Chef Instructor at Ivy Tech Community College. There, I have taught entry level and advanced classes in pastry arts for the past three years. I’ve also done more freelance work. What I love about my current job is that I can transfer my passion for the profession on to new mavens in the business, passing on the history and tradition of being a chef professional. I became the ACF Secretary of the Greater Indianapolis Chapter this past year, and I intend to continue my education by earning a Masters in Continuing Adult Education, in addition to other advanced certifications, to further serve my students and myself.
It can be trying to find a balance between your passions and your loves, a struggle I found especially difficult when I had my daughter, Ellis Arlene. Finding a harmonious balance between being a mother and still having time to commit to being a professional chef has been difficult, but I’m making it work, and who knows? Ellis is getting a kitchen for Christmas and may someday receive the kid’s cookbook that jumpstarted my passion for culinary arts.
I am very thankful to my friends and family who have put up with the intense demands that my career has placed over my life throughout the years; I appreciate their love and support more than they know.
Active volunteer with Second Helpings in Indianapolis
ACF Secretary of the Dayton Chapter
ACF Secretary of the Greater Indianapolis Chapter
Silver Medal at Aramark Midwest Regional Competition
Highly Rated Chef Educator (2013-2014)
ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
Treasurer Chef Joel Rifkind
Joel Rifkind D.D.S. is a full time dentist in the Indianapolis area, and has maintained a family and cosmetic dentistry practice for thirty seven years. Having completed his undergraduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington, he received his advanced degree at Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis. Dr. Rifkind has also been a professional musician for over forty years, and is proud of his six children and, so far seven grandchildren.
New to the hospitality industry, Chef Rifkind is a recent graduate of Ivy Tech Community College Hospitality Program. He excelled in the culinary arts program and has received a certified culinarian certification. Interest in culinary arts marks a new chapter for Chef Rifkind, planning for life after his dental career.
As a culinary student, Chef Rifkind served two terms as president of the ACF student board and now serves as co-treasurer of the board of directors of the ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter. He is proud to have won multiple gold and silver medals in student competition. Currently Chef Rifkind is developing his culinary skills as a teaching assistant at Ivy Tech, guest instructor at Second Helpings job Training Facility, and is expanding his interest into small event catering and personal chef work.
This change in direction in Chef Rifkind’s life has created a love for the world of culinary arts. He is fascinated and inspired by the creative potential of food service and has gained a deep respect for the hard- working, dedicated people in the industry. In the future he plans to remain active and involved in the ACF, continuing to develop his ACF friendships. Chef Rifkind hopes to continue teaching culinary arts in some capacity, as he strives to reach personal excellence in the art of food.
ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
Treasurer Chef Vlad V Bora
Chef Vlad Victor Bora is a French trained Chef from Europe, he was born and grew up in Brasov, Romania.
Chef Vlad completed his culinary arts training at Carnival Cruises College and attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC, he is fluent in 5 languages.
He currently serves as the Co-Treasurer in the Board of Directors of the ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter, and he is the Chair of PR and Communication Board.
Currently the Executive Chef at the Wellbrooke of Avon Health and Wellness Center, Chef Vlad started his career working for Carnival Cruise Line where he reached a management position in the acclaimed five star Supper Club Restaurant, his permanent move to New York City steered him towards excellent service and training, he was part of the team at Il Tinnelo a landmark in the Italian restaurant scene in Manhattan, his passion took him back to Europe for several years where he trained under the best Chefs from Italy and Austria, in 2011 he took the position of Food and Beverage Director at Hilton Hotels in Southern Indiana.
After continuing to work on his French and Mediterranean styles of cooking, he then branched off into the role of private Chef this venture leads into another and Chef Victor creates in 2012 Chef AvantAge Catering Sevices .
Chef Bora holds several national and international awards, hunger relief voluntary work in Belize, served as floor judge for the FCCLA/ProStart High School Culinary Competitions in INDIANA, also he was invited to teach at Second Helpings culinary training program.
Chef Vlad Victor Bora is an active member in the American Culinary Federation.
ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter Vice-President Chef Jeff Bricker
Chef Jeff Bricker CEC, CCE, AAC
Chef Jeff Bricker grew up on the south side of Indianapolis and has worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. He completed his culinary arts training at Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana, participating as a student in a summer intensive Classical French Cooking program from l’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Burgundy, France under the direction of Chef/Author Anne Willan.
Chef Bricker is a member of the Greater Indianapolis Chapter of The American Culinary Federation and a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator. In 2007, Chef Bricker was named Chapter Chef of the Year for the ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter. In 2007, Chef Bricker received a national teaching excellence award from the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). He serves as a board member of the ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter and is an Approved Lead Culinary Evaluator for professional certification exams for chefs. Chef Bricker was the founder and chef/owner of The Columns Ballroom and Catering and The Colonnade Room, which he operated for fifteen years. In 2002, Chef Bricker sold the business to join Ivy Tech Community College as a full-time faculty member where he serves as the Department Chair of the Ivy Tech Hospitality Administration program in Indianapolis. The program offers specialty areas of study in Culinary Arts, Culinology® Baking & Pastry Arts, Restaurant Management, Hotel Management, and Event Management that prepare the workforce to serve the hospitality industry in this region. Chef Bricker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts degree in Adult and Community Education from Ball State University.
Chef Bricker currently serves on the board of directors for Second Helpings, Inc. and on the advisory board of three area high school culinary programs and is the lead judge for the Indiana FCCLA/ProStart High School Culinary Competitions each year. In 2008, Chef Bricker received the Indiana ACTE Citation Award for having contributed significantly to the growth and development of career and technical education in Indiana.
In 2012 Chef Bricker was inducted in the American Academy of Chefs and currently serves as Chapter Vice-President of the Indianapolis chapter of the American Culinary Federation.
ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter President Chef Sam Brown
I was born in Chicago, IL as the oldest of three boys. My mother raised my two brothers and me while struggling to make ends meet as a single parent living on the south side of Chicago. The neighborhood was filled with crime, prostitution, and drugs, and this became a part of my everyday life. In the 1970’s, there were not many social programs that were available for youth such as myself that needed someplace to go. Instead, the mentors I had were athletes, pimps, and television characters.
By the time I was in high school, I had made my way in a notorious crime organization as its leader. Despite this criminal activity, however, I graduated from a vocational high school and then went on to Illinois State University. For two years I partied and sold drugs…the whole time being on academic probation.
I never graduated from college.
After this, I went back home to Chicago, got married, and soon divorced due to selling and using drugs. During this time, I was shot, stabbed, and I witnessed murders. Then in 1992, many of my associates were arrested, indicted, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In the confusion of that time, I felt that I was being watched, so I sold everything I owned and gave all my money to my ex-wife and children. I moved to Michigan City, Indiana and then soon moved to Indianapolis. Once here, I lived on the streets…in any shelter that would take me, and living day by day. I had no money, no family and no friends. My health soon started to deteriorate and I know that I would not make it on the streets much longer.
That was when Lighthouse Missionaries, which is one of the participating agencies in the Indianapolis Homeward Bound Walk, took me in. They literally saved me. I let go of my past and decided to live through Christ. With Lighthouse’s Life Plan Recovery Program, I learned that I truly am spiritual. I learned to pray, and I quit drugs and alcohol.
While I was at Lighthouse, I participated in a program at “Second Helpings” (an Indianapolis-based program) that teaches culinary art (I was in Class #8). Most students who go through the program do not get placed with a restaurant until they graduate, but I was asked to work at Shula’s Steakhouse, and I trained under their chef. One day not soon after, I received a phone call from the “Second Helpings” instructor, and I was told that she was leaving and had recommended me as the replacement! This started my success as a chef. I now have structure, drug tests, case managers, and a catering company thanks to the Second Helpings culinary program!
Since I learned to let Christ direct my life and I surrendered to Him, one wonderful thing after another has occurred. I was offered my current position job at Second Helpings, and I have studied oversees through Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Canada. I graduated top of my class, was named Chef of the Year in Indianapolis in 2002, and I have been featured in Indianapolis Dine. I have been blessed in so many aspects of my personal life. I overcame many obstacles, and I made it out on top.
I have so many local nonprofit agencies to thank for my success, and I am happy that these agencies are continually able to offer their programming and missions .
Chef of the Year (2001); President’s Award (2005)
American Culinary Federation Indianapolis Chapter Chef Professionalism Award (2006)
American Culinary Federation Indianapolis Chapter Chef Professionalism Award (2012)
ACF Hot Food Competition Silver Medal Winner (2010)
ACF Hot Food Competition Bronze Medal Winner (2011)
ACF Chef Educator of the Year (2011)
Human Achievement Award (2011)
2011 Culinary Educator of the Year (2012)
Public Service Jefferson Award (2013)
2012 Chef Professionalism of the Year (2013)
Girls Scout Cookie Cook-off Champion (2014)
ACF Indy Chapter President (2014)