Culinary Wolverines

Frank Turchan, Campus Executive Chef of Michigan Dining, with the ACF Chef of the Year Award

February 12, 2024
By: Alena Miklosovic | Michigan Dining, Marketing Intern
Photographer: Cierra Mauk | Michigan Dining, Marketing Coordinator

Annually, the American Culinary Federation (ACF)–an organization with a 95-year history dedicated to professional chefs–hosts an award gala to honor some of the most notable culinary experts in the country. This year, the ACF held its 45th Annual Michigan Chefs Cuisine De Cuisine Chapter Chef of the Year award gala at the Motor City Casino in Detroit. With many of the top culinary professionals from the state in attendance, Frank Turchan, Campus Executive Chef of Michigan Dining, received the prestigious ACF Chef of the Year Award! 

This outstanding accomplishment advances him to the Central Regional Competition, which will determine who goes to the National ACF convention to compete for the title of National Chef of the Year!

Reflecting on his achievement, Turchan expressed, “I am excited but truly humbled and deeply grateful to be recognized by such a prestigious ACF Chapter and among such talented chefs and peers. Thank you to my family, my wife Stacey, my daughters Makenna and Kailey, my friends and my mentors who have supported me throughout my career.”

Turchan started his culinary career at the age of 15, initially working in kitchens across Michigan, including summers as a cook on Mackinac Island. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and spent time working in kitchens in both New York City and Chicago. After returning to Michigan, he managed high-end hotels, private clubs and restaurants in Detroit.

While working as a corporate chef for a food brokerage, a colleague encouraged Turchan to explore College and University food service. This recommendation led him to Michigan Dining, where he has excelled for the past 16 years. “I started at the perfect time because that was the beginning of all the dining renovation actions across campus. I was fortunate to lead the different culinary teams as we opened new and renovated dining halls and were a part of the dining transformation over the years,” Turchan shared.

Now, as Campus Executive Chef, Turchan takes on a slightly different role. He oversees both the culinary program and the sustainable food program at MDining, both of which he played a pivotal role in developing to their current standards.

ACF Chef of the year award
ACF Chef of the year award
Cierra Mauk Marketing Dining Coordinator

Turchan’s extensive background in both culinary arts and management has been instrumental in his success within MDining, earning him accolades such as the AFC Chef of the Year award. He has dedicated himself to fostering a positive environment, a commitment that has clearly paid off.

Steve Giardini, senior director at Michigan Dining, speaks highly of Turchan: “Chef Frank is a true testament to the collegiate dining industry. He consistently puts our students and our staff first and is always out to ensure their happiness and fulfillment. Frank is future-focused, a necessity at a higher ed institution, and because of that, he's focused on the next generation of Culinary Wolverines. The effort that he puts into working with our team at all levels to get better at their craft is easily one of his most outstanding qualities and, in my opinion, what it truly takes to be the Chef of the Year.”

However, this award not only acknowledges Turchan’s expertise but also  signifies the collective success and professionalism of the Michigan Dining team. Giardini emphasizes that Turchan’s recognition extends beyond an individual accomplishment. “This Chef of the Year award, while Chef Frank has earned it, is a testament to all of our Culinary Wolverines across campus,” Giardini said. “Through Frank's leadership and dedication, our team is being celebrated for the hard work that takes place each and every day across our organization both in front of the customer and behind the scenes. Frank is very passionate about taking care of our students and that attitude has permeated our entire team in the best way.”

Turchan agrees wholeheartedly. He expresses gratitude for his team of culinary wolverines, acknowledging their efforts each day in bringing the culinary vision to life for students and guests. “Their passion and commitment to excellence amazes me, and I am truly fortunate to work alongside them. This award is also a representation of them,” shared Turchan.

Michigan Dining is honored by this award and incredibly proud to call Turchan–a true leader and best–one of their own.