Experience the Power of Connection:  ACF Events Series July 22–26, 2011
Gaylord Texan

2011 ACF National Convention Day-by-Day

Wednesday, July 27

The final day of the 2011 ACF National Convention started early Tuesday morning, with the Chef Educator of the Year competition. Presentations from the regional finalists continued throughout the day on a range of topics, from pan sauce production to free-range chicken. In the evening, all 2011 award winners were announced at the President’s Grand Ball.

Sessions on Tuesday were varied and offered attendees the chance to learn about diverse culinary topics, from how to create successful desserts to pasta making, and from gluten-free cooking to foie gras and duck fabrication. In the afternoon, chefs learned how to leverage their ACF connections during an inspiring session on marketing and a panel discussion featuring several ACF chefs. In “Certification—Quality Approved,” attendees were reminded about the value and importance of culinary certification.

Come Tuesday evening, the wait was finally over for anxious competitors, as convention guests gathered for the President’s Grand Ball, ACF’s formal awards ceremony. See who took home top honors. After the ball, it was time to unwind, as guests celebrated the end to another successful national convention. Next year it’s back to Florida for the 2012 ACF National Convention in Orlando, July 13–17, 2012. Save the date, and we’ll see you in the Sunshine State!

Tuesday, July 26

From White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass to Houston chef and Food Network host Bryan Caswell, many well known culinary stars lit up the map of convention presenters Monday. National competitions wrapped up during the final day of the trade show.

Gerry Fernandez, president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, spoke about the value of networking and the do’s and don’ts of social networking at the Johnson & Wales University Student Forum Monday morning. During other sessions throughout the day, attendees learned about everything from Texas Ranch Cooking with chef Lou Lambert to utilizing all parts of fish with Houston chef and Food Network host Bryan Caswell.

Sam Kass

The second part of General Session wrapped up Monday with a keynote address from Kass that focused on Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and the Chefs Move to Schools initiative. “Our nation is spending $150 billion a year on treating obesity-related diseases, and obesity is now the No. 1 disqualification for the military,” said Kass. “Our success as a nation will not be successful without the help of chefs.” Chapters from each ACF region also shared success stories and ACF’s 2011–2013 Board of Directors was sworn in.

Competitions continued Monday during the trade show, with the Student Team National Championship, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber, Inc., Pastry Chef of the Year competition, sponsored by Splenda®, and the USDA’s Recipes for Healthy Kids national cook-off.

In the evening, guests headed to the Gaylord Texan’s nightclub for the Glass Cactus Party. Morrison Management was announced as the ACF National Championship: Cooking for Life competition winning team. South Education Center Alternative Intermediate District 287, Richfield, Minn., was named grand prize winner of the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition was presented with a $3,000 check.

Monday, July 25

Attendees had plenty of activities to choose from Sunday, with many events happening throughout the day, from live cooking demos, including one featuring Alton Brown, to the first day of ACF’s annual trade show and the start of ACF’s highly anticipated competitions.

The ACF National Championship: Cooking for Life competition, sponsored by Dansko, MenuMax and Sodexo, began early Sunday morning and challenged five two-person teams—a healthcare chef and a registered dietitian or a dietary manager—to prepare four servings of a nutritious three-course meal. The nutritional guidelines were strict, but teams did an outstanding job demonstrating that healthy meals can still be delicious. The winning team will be announced this evening, so stay tuned to find out who will be this year’s championship team.

Alton Brown
Alton Brown

There was standing room only in Alton Brown’s educational and entertaining session about salts, sponsored by Diamond Crystal® Kosher and Sea Salts, Cargill Inc. Brown prepared Stovetop Salt “Roasted” Shrimp, Beef Tenderloin in Salt Crust and Microwave Salt Roasted Potatoes, emphasizing that salt is a cooking medium and should be used when cooking, not added at the table.

The trade show began Sunday afternoon and featured the latest culinary products from more than 100 exhibitors. Four students competed for the title of Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc., and four teams competed in the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers. Kendall College representing the Central Region won the Knowledge Bowl for the second consecutive year, but teams will officially be recognized at the President’s Grand Ball Tuesday evening, along with the Student Chef of the Year award winner.

The national finals for the Paella, Please! Competition, sponsored by Riviana Foods Inc., also took place on the trade show floor, challenging chefs from each region to prepare a paella dish in 30 minutes. Samuel Murillo from the Western Region took first place for his Southwestern Paella with Cilantro Cream. The final competition of the day was the U.S.A.’s Chef of the Year™ competition, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions. Chefs had one hour to prepare, cook and present four different show plates utilizing the mystery protein: red snapper. The winner will be announced tomorrow evening at the President’s Award Gala.

On Sunday evening, 400 guests attended the 40th Annual American Academy of Chefs Induction Reception Dinner at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Twenty chefs were inducted into the Academy, along with nine honorary members, and awards were presented. Five chefs were inducted into the Academy’s Hall of Fame.

Sunday, July 24

Chefs began arriving in the Lone Star State last week for the 2011 American Culinary Federation National Convention. On Friday, many attendees enjoyed a day of hands-on workshops and community outreach. Yesterday marked the first full day of programming, with General Session, educational seminars and demos and the presentation of the Chef Professionalism Award.

Saturday, July 23

The first full day of the convention kicked off bright and early Saturday, with the first part of General Session. Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president, delivered the State of the ACF address, the Year in Review and A Look Ahead, as well as several awards, including the Achievement of Excellence Awards and Chef and Child Foundation awards. ACF Orange Empire Chefs & Professional Cooks Association was recognized as the 2011 Little Oscar Award winner, and ACF Kentucky Chapter’s Dan Thomas received the True Spirit Award. Certification Commission Chair Derek Spendlove, CEPC, CCE, AAC, announced that the Certified Executive Chef® designation has earned accreditation from the National Commission of Certifying Agencies, the certifying body for the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), making ACF the only culinary organization nationwide to offer an accredited certification. Later, chefs Kevan Vetter and Brad Barnes, CMC, CCA, AAC, took the stage in the Focus on Flavors cooking demo, sponsored by McCormicks for Chefs, where they explained flavor layering and demonstrated two savory dishes.

For lunch, chefs gathered for a fantastic meal and the presentation of the Chef Professionalism Award, sponsored by MINOR’S®. Russell Scott, CMC, WGMC, executive chef at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Fla., representng the Southeast region, was recognized as this year’s winner.

On Saturday evening, guests attended the Student Culinarian Invitational Fundraising Reception for a taste of U.S. regional cuisine and Canadian fare, prepared by some of ACF’s most talented student members. Proceeds from the event will help students attend the 2012 World Association of Chefs Societies International Congress in South Korea.

Friday, July 22

Chefs joined Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers at Turner Courts Recreation Center in Dallas on Friday for the second annual Chefs Outreach to the Community Day. More than 100 children and families enjoyed a day of nutritious and delicious cooking as kids learned about healthy vegetables, whole grains, healthy smoothies and how to reduce fat and sodium by cooking at home.

Back at the beautiful Gaylord Texan, chefs enjoyed a day of sold-out hands-on workshops, as they learned about charcuterie, Tandoori cooking, marzipan and chocolate. On Friday evening, attendees enjoyed a true Texas welcome at the Put Your Best Boots Forward Icebreaker Reception, complete with roping, bull riding, a live band and delicious Texas cuisine prepared by members of the Texas Chefs Association.