The American Academy of Chefs (AAC), the honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), recognized Dawn Sweeney as an honorary inductee during a formal ceremony and dinner at the 2009 ACF National Convention held at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Fla., July 10.

Sweeney is president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), Washington, D.C. The NRA represents 935,000 restaurants and foodservice outlets and 13 million employees. Previously, she was president and CEO of AARP Services. Sweeney’s 25 years of marketing, advocacy and policy experience include leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the International Dairy Foods Association. She has a master’s degree in business administration from The George Washington University, Washington D.C., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Colby College, Waterville, Maine.

Sweeney received a Bravo Women Business Achievement Award from Washington SmartCEO and was named one of Irish America magazine’s 2007 Business 100. She was featured in the Profiles in Diversity Journal and was named by Washington Business Journal as one of its Women Who Mean Business in 2006. Sweeney is a member of the International Women’s Forum, The Committee of 200 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. She is a board member of Save the Children and sits on the advisory board for the Center on Business and Poverty.

The AAC, which recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to both the culinary profession and ACF, was established in 1955 at the ACF National Convention in Pittsburgh. Those credited with its founding include the legendary Pierre Berard, Peter Berrini and Paul Laesecke, AAC, HOF.

Out of more than 22,000 ACF members, approximately 800 belong to the AAC. Demanding criteria must be met to be elected to the AAC, including: certification at a level of executive chef/pastry chef or higher; no less than 15 years culinary experience; an ACF member in good standing for a minimum of 10 consecutive years or more; and sponsorship by two AAC members.

Sponsors of AAC events at the 2009 ACF National Convention are: Allen Brothers; American Lamb Board; Barber Foods; BelGioioso Cheese Inc.; Buckhead Beef; Butterball Farms; The Chef’s Garden; CleanFish; Contessa Premium Foods; The Crystal Cave; Desserts International; Ecolab; Harbor Seafood; Hudson Valley Foie Gras; Ice Caterers; Icon Estates; Jennifer Garant; Labriola; Lactalis; Les Chateaux de France; Marky’s; Nestle Waters North America; New Chef Fashion; PinSource; Revol; The Schwan’s Food Company; Shucks Maine Lobster; Tito’s Hand Made Vodka; Valrhona; and Villeroy & Boch.