A Call to Action

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Aloha! Our regional conferences are behind us, and I have to say that the 2018 theme, “Be the Change,” was spot-on. There was a huge emphasis on new and nontraditional culinary offerings in both Charlotte and Newport Beach. We dived into oyster farming and held a workshop on cannabis infusion. We learned how to deal with stress through qigong and exercise, and we explored plant-based cooking and regional specialties.

Now it’s time to look ahead to Cook.Craft.Create. ACF National Convention & Show, which takes place July 15-19 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. A couple of deadlines are fast approaching: May 14 for the early registration rate and June 21 for the discounted hotel rate. So register now to ensure your spot at what promises to be one of our most exciting conventions ever.

We have some enticing offerings for you. There are sessions on the future of culinary education online and how to tell compelling stories about healthful seafood that will help the bottom line. And those who are interested in certification won’t want to miss a panel discussion with five Certified Master Chefs who will share the benefits of CMC certification and the journey toward earning the credential, as well as offer insight on planning and preparing for the exam.

Talking of certification, members of the ACF Certification Commission traveled to Jamaica recently to conduct training for evaluators and administer 14 certification exams (written and practical). As part of a partnership with the Jamaican Center of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), ACF certification is being used as the exit exam for JCTI’s training program. ACF now has four practical-exam sites and one written-exam site on the island. Also, several culinary school programs are interested in ACFEF accreditation. We’re looking forward to expanding ACF’s presence for culinarians in the Caribbean.

In other certification news, the commission has approved the translation of the Certified Executive Chef (CEC®) written exam into Spanish. And, we will introduce the Certified Fundamentals Cook (CFC™) and Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook (CFPC™) certifications at two June events: the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America 2018 National Leadership Conference and the SkillsUSA 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference. We look forward to showcasing our ACF brand to these two groups for the first time.

We know that we must accommodate our younger members at our events, and realize that they have vastly different needs from those of more-established chefs. Our professional world is changing, and we have an obligation to these young people to make sure ACF is relevant. Young chefs attending Cook.Craft.Create. will find plenty to fire their interest, from butchery to cooking and knife-skills competitions, as well as a demonstration of plating techniques with a focus on photography.

Congratulations to the military chefs and cooks who competed for top honors at the annual Joint Culinary Training Exercise, March 8-16, at Fort Lee, Virginia. Team Hawaii, recognized as Culinary Team of the Year, will join us in New Orleans. Please give them a warm welcome.

Now, a final word to our young members. If you want a career in this industry, we’re here to support you. Certification will create value in your career, but staying up-to-date on current trends isn’t enough. Without the safety net and preventive care of health insurance, all your education, training and hard work will be worth nothing if you or a family member becomes ill. I’ve spent my life in this industry, and it’s hard to see those of my peers who have become physically and emotionally drained. It’s imperative that you young members recognize what it takes to spend a lifetime in this industry that we all love.

Be the Change. We are seeing this call to action take on a life of its own. We have received much-needed feedback about the challenges and opportunities that lie before us, and one of those challenges is access to health insurance for those who dedicate their lives to foodservice. Now, ACF is pleased to offer all members the ability to participate in a comprehensive health care benefit. We think it’s a game-changer for our organization—and it’s a benefit our members deserve.

I hope to see you in New Orleans. Aloha . . . and let the good times roll!

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