By Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC

Kimberly Brock Brown

The holidays are upon us!

It’s a special time—one that often means gathering with family and friends. But it can also be a stressful time, mental health-wise, for those suffering from depression and loneliness. As I write this, I’ve just read a lot of emails and messages overnight about ACF chefs and chapters affected by Hurricane Ian (please email or call the ACF office if you are in need of relief). It reminds me that this holiday season is the time not only to be grateful for what we have but also to think of those who may be in need and reach out to our colleagues, friends and fellow members. We are chefs. We are naturally giving and have a generous heart, and that’s what makes our federation so special.

For many of us, the holiday season is the busiest. This year, for the first time since the pandemic began, I’ll be traveling outside of the kitchen to talk to students at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and even visit the Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles. I am so excited and humbled to be flying around the country (and the world) to represent our ACF as your president!

Recently, I was honored to be invited on a trip to Mexico (sponsored by Patrón tequila and Tajín) for alumni of the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Boot Camp for Policy and Change. This program, which I completed during the height of the pandemic, taught me how to reach out to local governments to advocate for myself, my business and my industry. These are important skills and lessons that I apply every day to my role as your ACF president.

I’m not the only one headed out on some big trips this fall. Our esteemed ACF Culinary Team USA will be packing up their knives and heading to Luxembourg to compete in the Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup in late November (I’ll be there as a cheerleader). Read more about this on page 8. Let’s go, team!

National Apprenticeship Week is also in November—this strikes a personal chord with me because that’s how I got started (go Dallas College!). ACF Chef Dan Pliska, an apprenticeship supervisor, talks all about this educational tradition on p. 10.

Speaking of up-and-coming chefs, I would also like to introduce you to the new president of the ACF Young Chefs Club: Isaiah Gerrard, a student at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Learn more about him on p. 40.

Of course, I’mm all about the food during the holidays! I love me some sweet potatoes (read ACF Chef Jennifer Hill Booker’s story on them on p. 20). And I have to have extra cranberry sauce for a sauce coulis for pound cake (read more about twists on holiday dessert on p. 42)! Best wishes to you this season, and I can’t wait to see, chat and work with you next year!

Forever thankful and grateful,

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

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