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Local Chef Wins National Awards

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Aaron Johnson has loved the creativity of cooking since he was 13. And he is putting his success to work helping others get back on track in life. 

The Reno High graduate started his career here in Reno at the Skyway Buffet at Harrah's and at the Blue Bounty. After his formal training he has settled in San Francisco and was home visiting his mom in Reno this weekend with two national awards in tow.

"I got the Antonin Care'me award in November," he says proudly showing off the medallion awarded to him by his peers. "And I won the Chef of the Year award for the Bay Area from the American Culinary Federation in 2012," he adds with a smile.

And then he is quick to point out that the Care'me Award is given by chefs, to a chef who is making a difference. And for him that means not only is his cooking outstanding, but commitment to help others.

"I took over as president of the Bay Area Chapter of the ACF and it was $20-thousand in the hole. Now, we are in the black and giving out thousands of dollars in scholarships to those interested in our profession but who may not have the money to study it," he says.

He says the feeling of knowing you are making a difference is as fulfilling as his menus. And he is telling me all of this as he's chopping, and searing and assembling an incredible lunch including beef, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and pickled beets.

"There's something about the creativity that is compelling and now that I've found a way to use it all to help others as well, I feel I've really found my calling," he says.

Written by Erin Breen 

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