academy by serving four years as vice
chair, so when I was elected chair, I was
prepared to lead. And because the AAC
chair sits on ACF’s board of directors, I
spent four years, and then a further two
years as national secretary, experiencing
how that board worked. It’s an excellent
path to the presidency.
What do you do to relax?
I enjoy spending time with my wife
Cathy, my kids and grandkids. I cook
to relax, and especially love cooking
for family. I listen to music—opera,
jazz, rock and roll—just about anything,
and sometimes sing along. I can’t
stress enough the importance of taking
downtime, as difficult as it might be.
We all need to slow down, think things
through without pressure and take the
opportunity to get off the merry-go-
round. Being ACF president is a huge
responsibility, and you are better prepared
to tackle it if you stay
in touch with those
other important parts
of your life.
What did you enjoy
the most about
leading ACF for
We are fortunate
to have many
members who are
engaged and involved in ACF, and I
enjoyed spending time one-on-one with
them. I also enjoyed representing ACF and
conveying my passion for our organization
in the U.S. and throughout the world.
As you know, passion for something—
an idea, an entity, an institution—is
contagious, and we are more effective at
persuading others than we realize. And,
often, it’s not until we see ACF as part
of the bigger picture that embraces the
industry, community and, sometimes, the
world that we understand its worth.
What memories are you taking away?
My warmest memories are of
the people—members, colleagues,
sponsors—who offered advice,
encouragement and friendship. I also
connected with colleagues and friends
on my travels abroad attending such
events as the Worldchefs Congress. And
a few years ago, I was invited to Taipei,
Taiwan, where I was surprised to see my
picture prominently displayed. There
was a parade, and I remember marching
in it and thinking what an honor it was
to be representing ACF. I was privileged
to serve as ACF Culinary Youth Team
USA coach in 2004, and ACF Culinary
Team USA’s business manager in
2008 and 2012. I liked doing stuff for
team members, and one of my favorite
duties was to iron all the team jackets.
Sometimes, it’s the small gestures that
make the difference.
What do you plan to do in the future
that you haven’t had time for?
I’ll do those projects that I’ve
neglected, such as some much-needed
painting in the house. And I can’t wait
to get out in the garden. We grow
flowers and vegetables, and I’ve missed
it. But when you take on any job, and
especially one you were elected to do, it’s
important to embrace that responsibility
and acknowledge that the job must
often come first. I chose to run for the
presidency understanding that I would
have to put other parts of my life on hold.
What advice would you give someone
thinking about running for office?
Have an open mind, look to—and learn
from—the past, and above all, listen.
CONTACT THOMAS MACRINA AT TMACRINA@ACFCHEFS.NE T