A Time of Renewal

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Aloha! Welcome to spring. I know that for many of you, the change in seasons is especially welcome after the harsh winter. I wish for you a kinder, gentler approach to summer.

If you attended ChefConnect: Charlotte or ChefConnect: Newport Beach, thank you. I trust you found something of value to take back to colleagues at your workplace or in your chapter. We realize that not everyone has the flexibility or resources to travel to events, but sharing is a great way to include as many members as possible. So, talk about your experience and discuss what you learned. Your colleagues will appreciate being included.

As members of 2020 ACF Culinary Team USA are hard at work practicing for the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) in Stuttgart, Germany, fundraising efforts for the team are intensifying. ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of California held a fundraiser reception and dinner, Feb. 23, at Hotel Indigo in downtown Los Angeles. Hosted by Cesar Medrano, head chef, the event drew 130 attendees and raised $12,000 for 2020 ACF Culinary Team USA. This is the kind of support by members and chapters that the team needs. As I said in my March message, I’ve been fortunate to compete at the IKA many times, and know well the cost involved.

Spring is when we anticipate good things in the months ahead, and one of those is Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show. This year, we gather at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, July 15-19. There are many reasons to attend, from thought-provoking sessions and instructional hands-on workshops to events where you can network and socialize with colleagues. Our General Session presenters—ACF members John Folse, Maneet Chauhan and Masaharu Morimoto—are prepared to engage and inspire us. The Main Stage offers such luminaries as Barton Seaver, National Geographic Fellow, who will help us navigate the murky waters of the issues that surround seafood; Ka’ala Souza, owner, Ka’ala Souza Training & Consulting; and Tory McPhail, executive chef, and Ti Martin, owner, Commander’s Family of Restaurants, New Orleans.

A host of educational opportunities are available, as well, from Modern Filipino Sisig to Health, Fitness and Your Future, and The Art of Chocolate to The Future of Culinary Education Online. In addition, nutrition and supervision refreshers for certification will be offered. We are always mindful that our members have diverse needs, especially when it comes to education. We try to offer a range of sessions at our events that will enhance professional development. You should not return to your place of business without a new idea or two. As chefs, we never stop learning, and this is the ideal time and place to gain valuable knowledge. We hope there will be something that speaks to you.

Spring, a time of renewal, is an opportunity for us to promote and support the three pillars of our educational efforts: accreditation, educational programs/apprenticeship and certification. We can take pride in knowing that programs, training and materials were designed by and for our members. These programs deliver quality and value, and they strengthen our prominence in the foodservice industry. We are laying the groundwork for members and partners to carry our legacy into the future.

And, something to look forward to in 2019: The American Culinary Classic will be hosted by ACF during Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show in Orlando, Florida. We look forward to celebrating individual and team competitors who are the heart and soul of culinary challenges. As I have said before, all competitors, at whatever level, deserve our deepest admiration. It is extremely brave to put oneself—and one’s work—out there to be judged and evaluated. Please support and encourage your colleagues on their competition journeys.

These are exciting times for ACF, and I hope you share that excitement. Let’s keep communication channels open and talk to one another, discuss ideas at chapter meetings, and engage vice presidents and other board members in conversation. Together, we will ensure that ACF has a place at the table.

I hope to see you at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show in New Orleans. Laissez le bon temps rouler!

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