By Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC

Kimberly Brock Brown

“Let’s go!”

You know how I love to use that phrase! I’ve been using it a lot more as we gear up for—you know it—the 2022 National Convention in Vegas, baby! Talk about igniting your passion and turning up the heat!

I’m so excited that this is my first convention as president, and I can’t wait to reconnect with friends and peers. I’m sure you all feel the same way! During our convention planning, we heard from many of you that you wanted a more diverse lineup of speakers—not just celebrity chefs. Well, you talked and we listened! I think we have a great mix this year. Our outstanding group of speakers includes the acclaimed Chef Elizabeth Falkner; Larry Forgione, a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement; Mariya Russell, who, while working as chef de cuisine at the Chicago-based Kumiko, became the first Black woman to receive a Michelin star; and Wilo Benet, owner of Wilo Eatery & Bar and Payevar Events in Puerto Rico—and that’s just a start. For a preview, turn to page 10. Register at today before the prices go up!

The diversity of our NatCon lineup makes me think of our Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. Chef Susanne Ebacher-Grier, chair, has reminded me that this inclusion should and must extend beyond race and gender to include the LGBTQ community (June is Pride Month!), as well as those with diagnosed learning and physical disabilities. On that note, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Chef Ebacher-Grier herself is featured in an article (p. 24), along with other ACF members, discussing the importance of reducing stigmas around this topic.

Did you know that May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month? ACF recognizes the important contributions of this group, starting with a feature on modern Indian cuisine (turn to p. 28). Juneteenth is in June; read all about the delicious desserts celebrated on that holiday on p. 46!

In the meantime, check out our one-day MasterCraft Summit series. The Advanced Pastry Techniques Summit is coming up this month at Dallas College (my alma mater!), followed by Advanced Culinary Medicine and Advanced Culinary Cannabis summits later this year. What an awesome way to save time while learning on the fly for pennies on the dollar! And don’t forget: If you missed any of the amazing ACF ChefsForum Webinars this past month (or year), you can download the recordings (and catch other content) at

See you soon! LET’S GO!!

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

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