ACF Culinary Team USA
By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
Right now, ACF Culinary Team USA
is beginning its final preparations to
compete in the Internationale Kochkunst
Ausstellung (IKA), the oldest, largest
and most diverse international culinary
arts competition in the world. On
February 14-19, chefs from around the
world will arrive in Stuttgart, Germany
with all eyes on them.
They are ready. They have practiced
these recipes dozens - hundreds - of times. Their hands are steady.
Their minds are focused. And they will create something monumental.
Stepping into that kitchen will be one of the most important
moments of these chefs’ lives. It will also be one of the most
intimidating. I know because I’ve been there.
Throughout my career, I competed whenever I could. I always had
the support of the ACF behind me. My fellow members encouraged me,
taught me what they knew and cheered for me - from behind the glass
and from afar. I continue to see that level of enthusiasm now as I travel
the world as a culinary competition judge.
Decades ago, groups of ACF chefs would travel together to cheer on
our team at IKA. I hope to see you there, waving an American flag in the
crowd. If you can’t make it, I hope you’ll be watching ACF’s social media
and blog feeds to keep up with the latest. Share the news of the men
and women of ACF Culinary Team USA with your colleagues as you
would of the teams who throw javelins and ride bobsleds in that "other"
After these "Culinary Olympics" are over, the team will turn its
attention to the next big competition and we must keep that enthusiasm
alive. It’s my hope that, when IKA 2020 ends, we continue to support
our team, as well as the broader team of the ACF. Let’s offer the same
level of support to chefs who are not necessarily earning gold medals
on the world stage. The line cook who is pulling a double shift to make
ends meet. The chef who has mentored 30 apprentices in his or her
career. The culinary educator who signs up his or her students for ACF
membership and always has time to demonstrate that pan flip just once
more. These culinarians are just as worthy of our devotion.
I have no doubts that ACF Culinary Team USA will represent us
well in Stuttgart. I know the ohana of the ACF will also make us proud
in 2020 - and for years to come.
Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
American Culinary Federation
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or
follow me on Facebook @stafforddecambra
and Instagram @sdecambra
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