2018 Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show


New Orleans, LA, July 15–19, 2018

The 2018 events wrapped up in New Orleans near the French Quarter at Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show. The national convention featured additional educational and engagement opportunities that built off the ChefConnect series and provided a revitalizing experience for members, foodservice professionals, students and competitors. All the while igniting innovation that attendees can bring back to their classroom, employees or kitchen! We hope to see you at an event next year!

Welcoming remarks by ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Day 1 Recap

Some exciting happenings from Day 1:

  • We explored plant-forward cuisines and the management of evolving foodservice needs with Tulane University's Chef Leah Sarris.
  • In a hands-on demo, author Kirsten Shockey taught attendees how to use fermentation to make a unique condiment. It's all about the microbes!
  • The Herbal Chef, Chris Sayegh, demonstrated basic methods of Cannabis extraction through sous-vide.
  • Attendees took walking tours around the Big Easy, exploring the city's extensive food history and craft beer scene.
  • The Masquerade Welcome Reception was a hit! Masked revelers took to the red carpet in some amazing accoutrements.

Day 2 Recap

Some more exciting happenings from Day 2:

  • Chef John D. Folse talked on "Possibilities: The Life of a Chef" during the opening general session.
  • Chefs Michael Mignano and Michael Zebrowski shared techniques and inspiration behind their decadent tres leches reimagined with honey poached apricots and verbena cream.
  • We learned how Tabasco has spiced up the last 150 years with sound environmental practices, artisanal manufacturing processes and a passion for the food industry.
  • Author Barton Seaver told some "Tall Tales from America’s Fisheries." You can watch our video of the talk on our Facebook page. Check out our live-streamed videos of all the keynote addresses on the ACF Facebook page.
  • Chef Tory McPhail and owner Ti Martin of New Orleans-based Commander's restaurants spoke about "Mastering Food and Family."
  • The Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award was chosen by the ACF membership for the first time since the award's inception. A recap of all the week's award winners is coming in our bi-weekly newsletter, The Culinary Insider, on Monday. Make sure you're on the list!

Day 3 Recap

Day 3 was Aloha Tuesday, so most attendees skipped the chef coats in favor of leis and Hawaiian shirts. Check out the video above to see some of our favorite moments from Tuesday. Some more exciting happenings from Day 3:

  • Student Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Student Team Edible Cold Platter Prep competitions were going all day.
  • The ACF Tradeshow showed off the best of the culinary world, with sponsors and exhibitors sharing the latest innovations food, equipment and services.
  • So many demos and workshops! From "Balancing Your Plate With Asian Flavors" with Chef Jason Licker and Chef R. Andrew Chlebana's "Jazzed-Up Tarts," to "Finding Time for You: Health, Fitness and Your Future" from Eric the Trainer and Chef Charles Carroll and "Wisconsin Cheddar & Kentucky Bourbon - A Love Story" with Peter Leuer of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and the Society of Wine Educators' Jane Nickles, there was something for everybody yesterday.
  • Young Chefs Night saw Chef Jeremy Fogg demonstrating various plating techniques with an additional focus on taking social media photos, as well as a young chefs Beef Quick Fire Challenge.
  • The American Academy of Chefs gathered to welcome new inductees and congratulate AAC Fellows receiving awards at this year's AAC Reception and Dinner.

Day 4 Recap

Can you believe Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show 2018 Day 4 is already over? Only one more day to go! Are you overwhelmed with info, or brimming with new ideas? Or maybe a little of both? Check out the video above to see some of our favorite moments from Wednesday. Some more exciting happenings from Day 4:

  • Student Team Edible Cold Platter Presentation, Student Team Hot Food and USA Chef of the Year competitions went on throughout the day.
  • The ACF Tradeshow wrapped up its second day of featuring the latest innovations in food, equipment and services. We tasted so many samples.
  • Workshops and demos! There was "Canadian Cuisine: From Coast to Coast" with Peter Dewar of the Canadian Culinary Federation; a pastry certification seminar with Chef John C. Schopp; "Leading The Next Generation" by Chef Gerald Ford; "Five Questions You Should Answer Before you Retire" from financial advisor Adam Kirby of Wells Fargo Advisors; "The Art of Chocolate" with Pastry Chef Jacquelyn Lopez and more.
  • Chef Maneet Chauhan of Chopped gave the day's keynote address on "How Ethnic Food Found Its Place in American Cuisine." Check out our live-streamed videos of all the keynote addresses on the ACF Facebook page.
  • The inaugural Certified Master Chef Dine-Around had a group of eight CMCs sharing bites of amazing dishes, experiences, ideas and wisdom with an intimate group of attendees.

Day 5 Recap

Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show 2018 went out with a bang. Check out the video above to see some of our favorite moments from Thursday. All the exciting happenings from Day 5, our final day in New Orleans:

  • The last round of workshops and demos was a huge one! Chef Stefan Ryll talked "The Future of Culinary Education Online"; CMCs Russell Scott and Helmut Holzer shared "The History and Flavors of Goulash"; Chef Shaun O'Neale demonstrated "The Modern American Table" with some squid ink and lobster ravioli; photographer Susan Bourgoin gave a packed seminar on using food photography to increase your bottom line; Chef Amy L. Queret-Mitchell shared her wisdom on "What Excellent Educators do Exceptionally" and so much more.
  • There were book signings and pop-up tastings everywhere.
  • Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto gave the closing keynote address on "Sushi A to Z," deconstructing a huge tuna on stage before an amazed crowd. Check out our live-streamed videos of all the keynote addresses on the ACF Facebook page.
  • The President's Grand Ball was an 'ohana-style dinner to remember. There were dancers, award presentations (we'll share all those in next week's issue of The Culinary Insider) and, of course, fabulous food.