By Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC

Kimberly Brock Brown

We’re only a couple months away from the 2023 ACF National Convention! I am super excited for this year’s event and that we’ll be in New Orleans—one of my favorite cities.

First, I want to give a huge shoutout and thank you to our returning and new sponsors for this year’s event; we wouldn’t be able to host it without you! Did you know that we had 53 NEW companies investing in sponsorships with ACF in 2022 that did not spend in 2021? That equates to a 34% growth in NEW revenue generated by our sales team! All of this support goes right back to you, our growing group of members (we’ve increased our numbers 3% year-over-year with 12,644 members) in the form of top-notch education and networking opportunities.

Speaking of education, our growing list of convention speakers continues to amaze me. Turn to page 46 for a list of some of the sessions covering topics like Creole cuisine, ways to manage the workforce crisis, advanced baking, cooking with cannabis and more! Also, you won’t want to miss this year’s welcome reception, which will be held at the absolutely gorgeous New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) on the first night of convention. Convention is the best time to welcome new members into our group. Let’s reconnect with old friends and make new ones! Last year we had more than 1,000 attendees—on the heels of the pandemic—and we’re predicting an even larger group this year.

Calling all culinary educators! The Advanced Culinary Educator Summit, the first of the ACF MasterCraft Summit Series planned for this year, will be held on the Sunday prior to convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This is a great way to get in a day of learning and CEHs before the week kicks off.

Competitions are ramping up, as well. I was thrilled to have been able to watch the ACF National Qualifiers in March and see the professional and student chefs who will go on to compete at convention. Special thanks to the folks at Johnson County Community College and all the amazing volunteers and judges who helped out!

There’s other cause for celebration in May and June, including Mental Health Awareness Month (for resources, turn to p. 34), Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (read about Hawaiian cuisine on p. 28) and Juneteenth (ACF Chef Jennifer Hill Booker talks traditions on p. 18). And let’s not forget Mother’s Day and Father’s Day—here’s a shoutout to our hard-working parents out there! Will I see you all at convention?

Let’s go!

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

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