Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Last month, I said that the journey was just beginning. Now I’m happy to report that we are fully underway. At our first board of directors meeting in August, we reiterated our pledge to work as one team—members, board and staff. We are on a mission to adhere to our standard of excellence, now and in the future.

We also approved chairs and representatives to committees at the board meeting, providing an opportunity for a new group of individuals to serve our organization. And I want to take this opportunity to say mahalo—thank you—to our many past volunteers. Without you, ACF would not have accomplished so much of value to members. Volunteers have historically played an important part in ACF, and your hours of selfless giving are much appreciated in whatever way you serve. You are the face of ACF, and that’s especially true in your communities.

Nowhere is this more important than in the areas of childhood nutrition and healthy eating, and I know that many of you will be holding events on or around Oct.16 for Childhood Nutrition Day. It might be as simple as making healthy treats at a community center or hosting an activity session at an after-school program. This year, ACFEF, through the Chef & Child initiative, will award 30 grants of $150 each to support ACF chapters and chefs hosting nutrition outreach activities in celebration of Childhood Nutrition Day. Remember, whatever you do will impact your community and make a huge difference in the lives of children and their families.

Let’s talk about a slightly older generation, 18- to 25-year-olds. ACF Young Chefs Club (YCC) officers have put together a plan for 2017/2018 focusing on professional development opportunities specifically for young chefs. They will identify topics and speakers that interest this demographic, and offer professional-development webinars, tips and idea-sharing through blogs, a newsletter and social media. There will be videos and webinars on topics such as modern plating, charcuterie and protein fabrication, as well as tips on becoming ACF-certified or finding a job. Education tracks for young chefs are planned at 2018 ACF events, and the popular YCC Culinary Throwdown will be held at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show in New Orleans.

This fall, ACFEF is officially launching the certified fundamentals cook (CFC) and certified fundamentals pastry cook (CFPC) program. The ACFEF has received Department of Labor recognition for this entry-level certification that completes an industry stackable career ladder. One of the goals is to provide a way for an individual interested in pursuing a culinary or baking/pastry career to work his or her way up by applying acquired/practiced fundamental skills and knowledge. For the first time, stakeholders can obtain personal certification that parlays directly into a cook or line cook position.

I hope you were as excited as I was to see my September president’s message translated into Spanish, the first step in an initiative to reach our Spanish-speaking colleagues in the foodservice industry. “Ignite your Career with ACF” posters are now available in Spanish on the resource page, and watch for more materials in Spanish as we head into 2018. Also, we surveyed the target audience to investigate the viability of translating certification written exams into Spanish. Stay tuned.

My sincerest thanks on behalf of ACF to all chapters and members who donated time, energy, resources and funds to those affected by the recent hurricanes. It is wonderful to see so many in the ACF family come together in this time of need. Our thoughts and prayers are with each person affected by these catastrophes. ACF members may be eligible for support from the ACFEF Disaster Relief Fund. If you know a member who needs immediate financial assistance, please fill out a Disaster Relief Fund Assistance Request, located on the ACF Members Portal.

As you know, the 2017 certified master chef (CMC) exam is taking place through Oct. 7 at Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Michigan. Ten chefs from across the U.S. are taking the CMC exam, and they have put in many hours of preparation for this ultimate test of skills and knowledge. We wish each candidate the best of luck.

I leave you with this thought as you ponder ways to add members to your chapters: Most people who join organizations such as ours do so after they have been asked. It’s that simple.

Click here to see this message in Spanish | Haga clic aquí para ver este mensaje en Español