July 22–26, 2011
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.
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
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
On Sunday evening, 400 guests attended the 40th Annual American
Academy of Chefs Induction Reception Dinner at the Hilton Anatole in
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
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
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
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.