Aloha!

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

I am delighted to share this first of many president’s messages with you. I am honored and humbled that you elected me as your ACF national president, and my pledge to you is that I will leave things better than I found them. The journey is just beginning.

A new board of directors was installed July 13 in Orlando, Florida, on the final day of Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show. I look forward to building relationships with these leaders and working together to ensure that ACF’s mission continues to be relevant for today’s professionals and for the next generation. You elected us to office, and now we are here to serve you.

I hope you are as excited as I am to join Team ACF and bring our federation forward. ACF is our organization, and every voice counts. My goal is to create an open and honest environment where we can have candid conversations and share input to make ACF better. The American Culinary Federation is the leading culinary organization in North America, and your new board will continue to demonstrate the standard of excellence in everything we do.

It was my privilege to meet with several committee chairs and also speak with many of you at July’s Cook. Craft. Create. What an outstanding national convention that was. We had more than 50 educational seminars and culinary demonstrations, a two-day trade show, and opportunities to connect with old friends and make new ones. I especially enjoyed meeting the first-time attendees and seeing a national convention through their eyes, and I hope they went home energized and renewed. I extend a special invitation to them to join us next year when we gather in New Orleans, the city of laissez les bons temps rouler.

In August, I spent time at ACF’s national office in St. Augustine, Florida, and met with staff. It soon felt like one big ohana (family). During in-depth departmental discussions, I shared my vision for ACF’s future and the following goals that we will work on as a team:

  • Strengthen the federation and build growth through our regional conferences and national convention, advertising, quality education, standardized certification, apprenticeship and accreditation.
  • Bring more awareness to ACF by increasing public recognition of our federation and giving assistance to those members who can strengthen our reputation and grow support.
  • Support our regional vice presidents as they work in areas such as membership, programming and chapter activities to ensure that ACF remains the leader in the culinary industry.
  • Maintain membership renewals while working to add new members. Diversity and inclusion are vital to our organization and will assuredly make us stronger than ever before.
  • Improve the value of ACF membership by exploring, improving and adding to member benefits.
  • Communicate updates and developments to chapter presidents and all members in a timely fashion through the ACF website. When information is shared, we all feel empowered to accomplish great things.

Additionally, there are a couple of programs that I would like to bring to your attention. The first is the ACF Young Chefs Club. I have an abiding interest in young people. They are our future, and investment in them is crucial to our federation. I look forward to working with this group of younger members as they come together to exchange ideas and explore what their colleagues around the world are doing. Are you a young person interested in joining the conversation? Contact Jacqui Pressinger, ACF director of corporate and professional development (jpressinger@acfchefs.net), and she’ll put you in touch with an ACF Young Chefs Club officer near you.

As you know, the 2017 certified master chef (CMC) exam takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 7 at Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Michigan. This exam will be the benchmark for operations in all future exams. To increase participation, the ACF Certification Commission has voted on a new method of delivering the exam. The new model is currently in the planning stages by ACF national office staff, and will take about two years to complete. For more information, contact Jeremy Abbey, ACF certification director (jabbey@acfchefs.net).

In Hawaii, “aloha” is a greeting, but it’s also used in parting. I hope we meet again soon. We have much to talk about and even more to do. Let’s make history together. Aloha!

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