May President’s Message

May President’s Message

What an incredible Southeast Regional Conference hosted by the ACF Greater Charleston South Carolina Chapter at the Embassy Suites North Charleston -Airport/Hotel & Convention Center. The Culinary Institute of Charleston-Trident Technical College hosted the hands-on workshop series and the regional cooking competitions. The seminars and workshops offered at the conference were designed with a focus on incorporating sustainability in everyday practices. The conference kicked-off on Saturday, April 26 with 3 and 4-hour hands-on savory and pastry workshops for chefs.  It was refreshing and educational being able to learn new skills in designing and building sugar showpieces; effectively cooking with honey; minimizing food waste and maximizing profits through whole use of fruits and vegetables; preparing authentic Gullah cuisine; and understanding your own personal traits – strengths and obstacles and effectively using these traits for personal and professional success. The ACF business portion for the southeast region was conducted on Saturday afternoon, leaving the rest of the conference for education, competitions, networking, and having fun.  Saturday evening was the Rice Breaker Reception that featured small appetizers paired with rice and a protein / vegetable. The following three days were filled with educational seminars that focused on World cuisines, flavor profile development using native ingredients, career development for the chef, ACF Chapter best practices, working with chocolate, anticipating and capitalizing on change in the global foodservice environment, wine and food pairings, and incorporating locally grown in your menus and cooking habits.

The competitions were tough. Chef Eckert competed in the SE Regional Pastry Chef of the year. Chef Eckert represented the Chapter with great honor receiving the SE Conference Pastry Chef of the Year Award. The ACF-ACA Student Hot Food Team from Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta did a phenomenal job. Congratulations to these inspiring chefs for winning silver medal in the ACF Southeast Region Student Team Regional Championship competition. Additionally, congratulations to Derek Colglazier, line cook, Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta, for winning the ACF Southeast Region Student Chef of the Year competition. Great job! And, congratulations to Rusty Sigmon, CSC for being elected as the Southeast Region representative to the ACF National Audit Committee.

Chef Michael Diehl, ACF Southeast Region Vice President, lead a superb conference. At the general session and the business meeting, Chef Diehl spoke of a changing and evolving ACF. Beginning next year 2015, there will be only two regional conferences – the North and South Regions will combine for a conference schedule for February in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Central and Western Region will combine for a conference TBD. Current plans call for a three-day intensive educational conference beginning on Sunday and ending Tuesday evening. A discussion was held on changes to the ACF National bylaws with more information to follow in the coming month. Tyler Dudley, executive chef at the Daniel Island Club, hosted the American Academy of Chefs reception and dinner.

This was truly, a remarkable conference. Our Chapter – the ACF-Tampa Bay Culinary Association members who attended this conference were; John Beaudrie, Allan Gazaway, Les Eckert and myself were taking advantage of the various educational opportunities offered throughout the four-day conference. There was something relevant for everyone in attendance. I hope to see just as many of our members attending this year’s ACF National Convention and the 2015 ACF regional conference. As a reminder, the 2014 ACF National Convention will be held in Kansas City, Mo., July 25-29, 2014 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

Michael Rigberg, CEC, CCA
ACF Tampa Bay Culinary Association

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