By Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC

Thomas  Macrina

This is my favorite time of year. The holiday season to me is a time to celebrate with family and friends, but also a time to indulge in delicious food. This year might look a little different — we might have to celebrate with some of our loved ones in spirit only, instead of in person — but as chefs, we can still cook and enjoy the comfort foods of our various cultures. To get you into the holiday spirit and excited about the flavors of fall and winter, this issue of NCR features stories about panettone and some lighter options for Turkey Day stuffing.

The holiday season also signals a time to recognize others. First, I want to thank everyone who submitted nominations for our annual awards. Deadlines have been extended to December 1, so please remember to nominate your favorite chapter for the Regional Chapter of the Year award.

I would also like to recognize all of our members who have gone out of their way to feed and help others during these trying times. Many participated in distributing food to those in need, including children, families and out-of-work hospitality workers. Some set up donation funds to help members manage their expenses. Plenty of chapters have coordinated Zoom meetings, inviting members from around the country and beyond to participate and connect virtually.

Even at a time when we can’t travel or meet in person, many of you continue to engage with and support your peers through our new online community, Chef ’s Table. If you haven’t logged in, I encourage you to do so, and join in the lively discussions taking place. You all inspire our industry to move into next year with a renewed purpose and passion for what we do.

We need to stick together during these times, and ACF is here for you. Right now, ACF is offering those considering joining our group a 90-day trial for professional membership. This trial will give you a taste of what we offer and allow you to be a part of a leading culinary organization driving the trends and best practices that will shape the future of our industry. In addition, we’re offering flexible payment options for members, as we recognize this is a tough financial time for many of us.

As we approach 2021, we’re continuing to plan an amazing year of events, whether they end up being in person, virtual or a hybrid. We are monitoring scientific reports and working with local authorities to design the safest-possible events for our regional conferences in the spring. In addition, we are adding virtual training and competitions next year. And, of course, we continue to diligently plan our annual convention, taking place next summer in Orlando, Florida.

We know how important networking and maintaining connections are to all of our members. That’s why we are prioritizing ways for everyone to be involved and help you teach each other how to promote yourselves, excel at your jobs, and grow your brand and career.

Wishing you a very happy holidays,

Thomas “Tom” Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC
National President
American Culinary Federation

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