COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Following a path paved by the late Canadian chef Hans Bueschkens, The Honorable Order of the Golden Toque named two international chefs as active lifetime members at its Annual Reunion held last week at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.Gissur Gudmundsson, president of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), and WACS vice-president Hilmar B. Jonsson, both from Iceland, were added to the roster of the prestigious society whose membership is limited to 100 chefs and 17 honorary members. Hans Bueschkens, a former president of WACS, was also the first Canadian to become a member. At present, Mitch Kostuch, group publisher of Kostuch Media Ltd., is the only Canadian member, inducted in 2007 as an honorary member.
A frequent visitor to Canada, Gudmundsson has strong family connections to the Okanogan Valley, B.C. He has been a Master Chef since 1989 and is an active culinary leader, having served as president of the Icelandic Chef Association (2000-2006) and president of the Nordic Chef Association (2003-2007). He joined WACS’ management as continental director for Northern Europe from 2004 until his election as WACS president in May 2008. In 2012, he was re-elected as WACS president for a second term, in the only second-term re-election since 1928 when WACS was established in Sorbonne, Paris with August Escoffier appointed as the first honorary president. Coincidently, the only previous two-term presidency was held by Hans Bueschkens (1980–1988).
Hilmar B. Jonsson began his career in Iceland in 1962 as an apprentice at Matstofa Austurbaejar. He was certified as a Master Chef in 1969 and his subsequent career included work at various hotels and restaurants; the 1981 founding of Gestgjafinn — the first and only food, wine and travelling magazine in Iceland; and the 1987 founding of the Matreidsluskólinn Okkar Cooking School, which offered 25 cooking courses for non-professional people. In 1989, he became corporate chef for Iceland Seafood Int (now Icelandic U.S.A.). He retired this year.