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Award-winning pastry chef joins WCCC culinary program faculty

Award-winning Chef William Racin has joined the Westmoreland County Community College School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality as a full-time baking and pastry instructor.

With more than 18 years of experience in fine dining restaurants and boutique hotels, Racin comes to WCCC from the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, where he served as pastry chef for 13 years, overseeing a team of eight pastry cooks.

Racin was named American Culinary Federation Pittsburgh Chapter Chef of the Year in 2019 and National Pastry Chef of the Year in 2018.

During the spring semester, which begins Jan. 10, Racin will teach Foundations of Cooking and Baking, Baking 1, Decorating Techniques, Baking Bistro, Specialty and Artistic Techniques and Advanced Decorating Techniques.

“He brings a whole new level of expertise to the baking and pastry program” said program director and professor Cindy Komarinski. “We are not only excited to see what he will introduce to current students, but the classes he plans on offering to the community through our Continuing Education department. The community will be baking with one of the best.”

While in Pittsburgh, Racin was involved in WCCC Culinary Arts programs by serving on the Occupational Advisory Committee, teaching Sugar Art and Design Techniques and overseeing apprentices from the program.

Creative possibilities

Racin said he likes to think of teaching as performing a magic trick.

“The students are so eager to learn and it reminds me of an audience ready to be amazed,” he said. “Every once in a while, I demonstrate a technique and the look of bewilderment in the student’s face is my favorite part. It’s as though a magic trick was performed in front of their eyes, and the look of excitement and curiosity is very rewarding to me.”

“I grew up with older brothers who were already cooking professionally at relatively young ages,” he said. “I was immediately hooked by the creative possibilities that exist within culinary arts and I was attracted to the camaraderie and teamwork necessary to successfully run a food service operation.”

Originally from Mantua, Ohio, Racin received his culinary training at The Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif.

Racin has competed in culinary competitions at the regional, national and international levels. In 2016, he won the Regional Pastry Chef challenge through the Chaine des Rotissuers. He was awarded a gold medal at the World Semi-Finals Global Pastry Chef Challenge in 2019.

“This can be a very rigorous industry,” Racin said. The most important question the students should be asking themselves is ‘Do I want to be a craftsman?’ The attention to detail, efficiency and grit that is required to be a true craftsman is the driving force that pushes one forward.”

“Chef Racin is a great addition to our college,” said WCCC President Tuesday Stanley. “Our award-winning culinary programs and faculty attract top talent, and Chef Racin adds to our ability to train students who positively impact our communities.”

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .