PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE by Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
Aloha! Our regional conferences are
behind us, and I have to say that the 2018
theme, “Be the Change,” was spot-on.
There was a huge emphasis on new and
nontraditional culinary offerings in both
Charlotte and Newport Beach. We dived
into oyster farming and held a workshop
on cannabis infusion. We learned how
to deal with stress through qigong and
exercise, and we explored plant-based
cooking and regional specialties.
Now it’s time to look ahead to Cook.
Craft.Create. ACF National Convention &
Show, which takes place July 15-19 at the
Hyatt Regency New Orleans. A couple of
deadlines are fast approaching: May 14 for
the early registration rate and June 21 for
the discounted hotel rate. So register now
to ensure your spot at what promises to be
one of our most exciting conventions ever.
We have some enticing offerings for
you. There are sessions on the future of
culinary education online and how to tell
compelling stories about healthful seafood
that will help the bottom line. And those
who are interested in certification won’t
want to miss a panel discussion with five
Certified Master Chefs who will share
the benefits of CMC certification and the
journey toward earning the credential,
as well as offer insight on planning and
preparing for the exam.
Talking of certification, members
of the ACF Certification Commission
traveled to Jamaica recently to conduct
training for evaluators and administer 14
certification exams (written and practical).
As part of a partnership with the Jamaican
Center of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), ACF
certification is being used as the exit exam
for JCTI’s training program. ACF now has
four practical-exam sites and one written-
exam site on the island. Also, several
culinary school programs are interested
in ACFEF accreditation. We’re looking
forward to expanding ACF’s presence for
culinarians in the Caribbean.
In other certification news, the
commission has approved the translation
of the Certified Executive Chef (CEC®)
written exam into Spanish. And, we will
introduce the Certified Fundamentals
Cook (CFC®) and Certified Fundamentals
Pastry Cook (CFPC®) certifications at
two June events: the Family, Career and
Community Leaders of America 2018
National Leadership Conference and the
SkillsUSA 54th annual National Leadership
and Skills Conference. We look forward
to showcasing our ACF brand to these two
groups for the first time.
We know that we must accommodate
our younger members at our events, and
realize that they have vastly different needs
from those of more-established chefs. Our
professional world is changing, and we
have an obligation to these young people
to make sure ACF is relevant. Young chefs
attending Cook.Craft.Create. will find
plenty to fire their interest, from butchery
to cooking and knife-skills competitions,
as well as a demonstration of plating
techniques with a focus on photography.
Congratulations to the military chefs
and cooks who competed for top honors at
the annual Joint Culinary Training Exercise,
March 8-16, at Fort Lee, Virginia. Team
Hawaii, recognized as Culinary Team of the
Year, will join us in New Orleans. Please
give them a warm welcome.
Now, a final word to our young
members. If you want a career in this
industry, we’re here to support you.
Certification will create value in your
career, but staying up-to-date on current
trends isn’t enough. Without the safety net
and preventive care of health insurance,
all your education, training and hard work
will be worth nothing if you or a family
member becomes ill. I’ve spent my life
in this industry, and it’s hard to see those
of my peers who have become physically
and emotionally drained. It’s imperative
that you young members recognize what
it takes to spend a lifetime in this industry
that we all love.
Be the Change. We are seeing this call
to action take on a life of its own. We have
received much-needed feedback about the
challenges and opportunities that lie before
us, and one of those challenges is access
to health insurance for those who dedicate
their lives to foodservice. Now, ACF is
pleased to offer all members the ability to
participate in a comprehensive health care
benefit. We think it’s a game-changer for
our organization—and it’s a benefit our
I hope to see you in New Orleans.
Aloha . . . and let the good times roll!
A CALL TO ACTION
CONTACT STAFFORD DECAMBRA AT SDECAMBRA@ACFCHEFS.NET