Change is Good

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

The American Culinary Federation has been the very epitome of excellence for 89 years. It’s an astonishing achievement but as we close 2018, I look forward to our 90th anniversary in 2019 with something akin to awe.

This has been an extraordinary year for the ACF.

The ACF National Convention in NOLA had higher attendance rates than we’ve seen in 10 years. Chef Morimoto filleting a 200-lb tuna on stage? Magnificent. Competitions? Thrilling. A chef on stage that broke down barriers about mental health and stress in the kitchen? Both long overdue and welcome. These are the things you told us in your surveys.

Culinary classrooms are packed. Certification continues to grow, with a new CFC successfully launched. A digital education platform is coming and so is a new apprenticeship portal. Membership, while not where we need it, has steadied and benefits that you have asked for — like health insurance — are now on board.

These changes are coming fast and it is important that we communicate with you directly, transparently and in real time.

This magazine — The National Culinary Review — is changing. We’ve been printing the NCR since 1932. It’s a legacy publication, with a prestigious pedigree in the culinary community. But it can no longer exist the way it exists now.

As chefs, we all know that there is satisfaction in the opportunity to put your hands on something. The NCR will continue in print but we need a wider audience, more subscribers and a digital presence. That phone in your hand? In 2019, the NCR will be there. And so will Sizzle, our We Are Chefs blog, ACF videos and photos.

The social media frontier — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — is no longer a foreign land. We’ve all embraced these tools and will continue to grow relationships all over the world with our voices and thoughts.

I’d like to urge you to plug in to the ACF and listen to the new stories our students, educators, members and professional chefs are telling. Not only is there a place for you here at your ACF home, there is a place for your peers in the culinary world.

Invite them in. The American Culinary Federation’s family is growing and we know we’ll see many of you on our journey. It might be in Atlantic City, Minneapolis or at convention, in Orlando. It might be at the CMC exam in March. It might even be on one of our Facebook live chapter meetings.

Wherever you are, we’ll see you there. Don’t you know it yet? You’ll always be ACF.

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