The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the largest professional chef organization in North America, providing opportunities to network, compete and learn. Our local chapter in St. Louis is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating and supporting the culinary community. In Missouri, chefs and cooks don't need to worry about getting a license or certification before they can start working, as there are currently no licensing requirements.
Although certification isn't necessary, it can be beneficial for finding a job. The ACF offers certifications that demonstrate a subset of your skills to employers. To learn more about the talented chefs and cooking teachers who teach classes at Kitchen Conservatory, read on.
Melanie Armbrechtis a teenage confectionary decorator with a passion for cakes and cupcakes.
She focuses on both presentation and taste in all her creations, incorporating different flavors, elements and current trends to enhance her designs, and loves to share them with others. Melanie discovered her love for baking at age 11 and her technique has only improved since then. Outside of the kitchen, she is a full-time student and athlete at the Cor Jesu Academy, finding time to share her enthusiasm for the art of decorating cakes and muffins at the Kitchen Conservatory.
Dara Boxeris a native of Washington, DC, where she ran a personal chef company that helped other busy families solve the age-old question: “What's for dinner?” As a mother of two young children, she fully understands the importance of having an established meal plan.
Dara loves providing practical and simple solutions to help his dinner routine work smoothly and efficiently.
Jacob Couturegrew up thinking everyone in his family had artistic talents except for him - until he discovered the kitchen. The kitchen quickly became Jacob's artistic medium, where he immersed himself in different methods, techniques and ingredients, using his family as guinea pigs. Since then, Jacob has been an avid home cook and food explorer, especially enjoying cooking with new and unusual ingredients and traveling on an empty stomach.
When he's not in the kitchen, he's probably driving along some of Missouri's picturesque highways in his favorite car or walking to Opal, his mountain dog from Bern.
Chef Zachgrew up in Missouri's Bootheel surrounded by corn and soy. His parents fed him with the 2,000-square-foot garden and modest orchard they tended to on their small poultry farm. His first gastronomic memories were reinforced by both grandmothers - one consummate Southern cook in her own right and the other an avid sweet tooth.
Upon moving to Cape Girardeau for high school, Zach found work cleaning tables and washing dishes at the best Chinese restaurant in the area. While there, he worked his way up until he was under the tutelage of the owner and his assistant who taught him Chinese and Thai cuisine - more importantly instilling in him the work ethic and passion to thrive in the culinary industry.
Ericka Frankis the owner of Cakery Bakery in Dogtown. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, she made her first wedding cake at age 14 and has been passionate about pleasing the eye and the palate ever since.
Ericka moved to St. Louis when she got married and is now the mother of three children including a pair of twins - who are her harshest critics in the kitchen! Joshua Galliano grew up in South Louisiana giving him a great appreciation for city life and country customs. After working at several restaurants in Baton Rouge, Josh was fortunate to find two mentors who fostered his passion for food. The search for knowledge and experience led him to complete a master's degree in Political Science and obtain a Grand Diploma at Le Cordon Bleu in London.
Josh has worked at Commander's Palace and Brennan's in New Orleans as well as with Daniel Boulud in New York before evacuating New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina - starting a new life in the Midwest.