By Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC

Kimberly Brock Brown

Happy New Year!

While many of us are still processing what happened in the last couple years, more of us are ready to move on and move forward. Since becoming ACF president, I know I have moved full steam ahead to start planning for 2022. That includes helping develop the content and structure for the exciting new series of one-day educational summits we plan to roll out, as well as setting dates and details for regional competitions. To learn more about the summits and competition dates, turn to the News Bites section, and to register, visit

During my first town hall in November, I shared some highlights from the first meeting of our new board. We discussed new bylaw suggestions, including the proposal to give students a full vote. Also during the meeting, Chef John Schopp, CEC, CEPC, CCA, CCE, AAC, Certification Commission chair, spoke about expanding the certificate program to help you—our members—showcase specialties such as vegan cooking and cooking with cannabis. Of course, a lot of our discussion involved planning for the 2022 ACF National Convention in July in Las Vegas. If you haven’t registered yet, I strongly suggest you do so soon in order to take advantage of lower rates! Rates will go up as we get closer to the convention date. I am so excited about one of our keynote speakers, Chef Elizabeth Faulkner, and others who will be announced soon. To watch a recording of the town hall, visit

This is a special issue of NCR for me and many of our members. The main feature focuses on African American cuisine in honor of Black History Month, but you’ll see the diversity of our membership base reflected in other articles throughout the issue, as well. It’s my hope that one day, we won’t have to designate just one month to Black history—that the contributions people of color have been making in our country and professions will simply be recognized as American history. Until then, we will especially continue to honor this important group of ACF chefs and leaders during the month of February and be mindful and inclusive of the contributions of African Americans and other people of color during the rest of the year.

Over the years, I’ve veered away from making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I try to set goals for myself. As we enter 2022, I’m making it my goal to stay more connected with friends and family—especially after an isolating and difficult couple of years. How’s your work/life balance going? Prayerfully, this new year brings us all hope for better days. Keep those wellness checks going for your colleagues, friends, family and yourself. You can stay connected with your fellow members through our many channels—be it visiting our Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram pages; reading about each other in NCR; staying up to date with our biweekly e-newsletter, The Culinary Insider; listening in or attending chapter meetings, calls and events; or simply picking up the phone to talk to an old friend, and by all means, reaching out to new ones, too!

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!

Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC
National President, American Culinary Federation

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