ACFEF Students and Your Community

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Take a deep breath. Can you feel it? That’s the invigoration that comes from another successful, record-setting ACF National Convention. Every time I attend, the motivation I get from the powerful speakers, challenging conversations, inspiring competitors and familiar faces reinforces my commitment to our ACF ohana, our ACF family.

This year at National Convention, during our first-ever Women Leaders Symposium, I had the pleasure of being a panelist with a group discussing the topic of mentorship. It got me thinking about how we all need mentors, no matter where we are on our paths. As I begin my second term as your National President, I want the current membership of the ACF to be the mentors that the culinary industry needs so that we can grow this organization for the next generation.

With that goal in mind, the ACF is proud to announce that for the first time ever, the ACF has launched complimentary membership for all ACFEF-accredited secondary students. In addition, students at our post-secondary ACFEF-accredited programs will be able to become ACF members at a discounted rate of nearly 40% off.

“I had to pay full price when I was a young culinarian! Why shouldn’t young chefs today have to do the same?” I hear your concerns and I hope you hear mine: We cannot sustain the ACF without these young chefs. Welcome them and even better, visit your neighborhood ACFEF accredited programs and urge administrators and educators to take advantage of this opportunity. I want to see new faces, young members at our events next year, and I know you do too.

It is a fact that our chapters are the best recruiting tool we have and this issue of the National Culinary Review recognizes some of the great work they do, including bringing young chefs into the fold. I visit ACF chapters across the country, and these members are on a mission to grow, to teach, to further the culinary profession and to do good in their communities. (By the way, did you know that the opportunity to serve their community is a top reason a young professional engages with an organization?)

If your chapter isn’t as active as some of the groups highlighted in this issue, then I encourage you to take your inspiration from these pages and become the leader they may need.

Bring the ACF into your community, and bring your community into the ACF.

Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
National President
American Culinary Federation

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