Woodbury Chef Angelo Montes was recently named 2012 Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation, Minneapolis Chapter. The ACF is a professional organization for cooks. ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation designed to enhance professional growth for all current and future chefs and pastry chefs.
"My dream was to be called a chef, and now I am to be called a chef by the top chefs," said Montes, who is an owner and operator of Sole Mio Ristorante, located in Woodbury's Valley Creek Mall. "This is like the Oscar for us. Only a few special people receive this award."
The award was presented in January during an annual dinner held at Mendakota Golf Course in Mendota Heights.
The Chef of the Year criteria is a combination of chef skills, education and charitable involvement. He is also a Certified Executive Chef.
Montes, as part of the ACF, has been involved with many charitable events for a variety of causes, including those with disabilities, cancer, homelessness and more. It is for these efforts that he has previously received the C.H.E.F.F.Y. Award, given to those who have been significantly involved in charitable activities.
Montes and his wife Teresa, along with partners Lisa and Tony Magnotta, opened Sole Mio in October 2012. He and his wife, and two children, moved from Italy to Woodbury 14 years ago. He was a chef for Chianti Grill for several years before opening the restaurant in Woodbury.
Montes said he opened the restaurant for the community that has supported him, but his joy in being a chef is teaching and giving.
"I choose to be a chef because I want to, it's what I am, but I want to use it for good," he said. "People ask me if I want to open another restaurant. I tell them no. I want to share my education and teach in the future."