By Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC

Thomas  Macrina

Spring has sprung, and as I look to the summer, you know what I’m going to say: I am beyond excited for the 2021 ACF National Convention in Orlando!

We’re waking up not only from a long winter but also from a long hibernation—literally. Most of us have spent more than a year apart and mostly grounded at home. If you’re like me, you’re itching to get out and see your friends and peers.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the beginnings of an amazing lineup of speakers and presenters that continues to grow by the day. This year’s event, held Aug. 2-5 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, will also host the largest competition stage in ACF convention history, with 10 kitchens and chefs of all levels showcasing their talents and techniques.

For the educational segment, we’ll enjoy a wide range of presentations, from timely topics like navigating a post-pandemic world and exploring alternative business opportunities, to a look at culinary medicine and the new frontier of fusion, creative ways to promote a sustainable future in food, today’s food trends and more.

As always, there will be plenty of food (and drink) demonstrations, including those covering salsas and sangria, cooking with cannabis and advanced pastry techniques, and an interactive wine and food pairing session, just to name a few. A HUGE thank you to all of our ACF volunteers, sponsors and partners who have been working so hard to put together these sessions and the competition stage. We couldn’t do any of this without you.

I’d also like to thank the hotel team with whom we worked closely to implement safety protocols for the in-person event, as well as offer a few fun perks for hotel guests. Those perks include dining credits; discounts on room rates, retail and spa services; extra shuttle passes to Disney parks; and even complimentary mini golf tickets for up to four people. Book now—rooms always fill up fast! If you are not able to attend the in-person event this year, we will be livestreaming and recording selected portions of the convention for you to enjoy remotely.

While we count down the days until the convention begins, we’ve packed this issue with plenty of content for your reading pleasure. Learn about the history and benefits of ACF certification; what you can do to set up a safe, outdoor operation; what’s trending in the plant-based world and more.

Happy spring (and summer) and see you soon,

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

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