2015 Convention

Cook. Craft. Create.

ACF National Convention & Show

Pictures More than 1,000 chefs, cooks, students and foodservice professionals attended Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, hosted by the ACF Central Florida Chapter, July 30–Aug. 3, in Orlando, Florida. The event provided attendees with opportunities to advance their professional development and enhance their culinary skills through workshops and seminars, cutting-edge demonstrations, a trade show featuring nearly 100 exhibitors, national competitions and ACF’s annual national awards.




2013 ACF National Convention

Las Vegas, July 21–25

ACF is heading to the Las Vegas strip for the 2013 National Convention, July 21–25. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will hold this jam-packed, five-day convention, offering exceptional educational programming and networking opportunities.

Whether you are a seasoned professional chef or a student new to the kitchen, the 2013 ACF National Convention offers something for everyone. Mark your calendars and get ready for this amazing convention in Las Vegas!


7/20-7/24 2013

This will be a brief summary of the convention proceedings. My second report will deal with certification matters, especially on the subject of practical testing and how it affects the certification process.

The convention hotel, the cosmopolitan, was originally designed to be a condominium complex. When the real estate market tanked back in 2008, the banks holding the lien sold the property to Marriott Corporation. They turned it into a hotel/casino and continue to manage it. All of this gives the place an odd set up. You enter through the parking garage and the hotel registration desk is right there. There are 3 sets of elevators, all of which serve different floors. This makes getting from one floor to another something of an adventure. The convention areas are, fortunately, quite compact and easy to navigate. The staff was great.

Most of the meals were good if not great. Monday breakfast was in their buffet restaurant, the wicked spoon. This was outstanding. Most items are not served out of steam table pans, but are rather served in an appropriate single serving dish. Both plated lunches were good. Due to their use of oversized plates, no tray service was used. All plates were hand carried and served from the staging areas. This made service somewhat slow. The final dinner for the president’s grand ball was outstanding. The academy dinner, alas, had several pretty serious challenges and was, on the whole, disappointing.

General Sessions
All in all, the ACF is in sound financial shape. Membership is steady. They plan a new drive to get more professional category members. Chef Marcel will detail in his report on the second general session, which dealt with the important subject of sustainability and its impact on food service, Chef Marcel will detail the comments of Rick Moonen and our old Ohio friend Farmer Lee Jones.

Chef Ming Tsai was the guest speaker at the first general session. He was very entertaining even as he preached a gospel of changing the American diet to a more healthy way of eating by eliminating a lot of fat, too many carbs, sugars, and protein, and adding more fruits and vegetables.

The new board was introduced at the second session, including Tom Macrina as incoming president, Jim Taylor as secretary, Bill Tillinghast as treasurer, and George O’Palenick as our new regional vice president.

Educational seminars

NE regional seminar– we met our new NE VP George O’Palenick and took the liberty to invite him to our 2014 Scholarship Dinner. On that subject, our 2013 guest, Chef Bill Tillinghast asked that we provide both him and our new national president, Tom Macrina, with the date as well. We could possibly have all 3 at next year’s dinner. The ne will have 3 one day educational seminars, the closest of which will be in buffalo. Watch your e mails. The NE regional conference will be in Warwick, RI April 11-14, 2014.

Highlights of other seminars:
Global spice trade- ancient to modern

History of cheese. Outstanding presentation. I will have copies of the chef’s handout at the first fall meeting.

Trade show– excellent competitions. This year, for the first time, there was a competition featuring various college foodservices. I am proud to announce that the gold medal went to the chefs from my alma mater, Notre Dame!

Classic vs. Modern- lamb and paella. Two chefs tag teamed these presentations and did a great job. Kept your interest very well.

World flavors Sweden and Denmark. Presented as usual by the CEA and Unilver. Another from their great DVD series.



2012 National Conventions, Orlando, FL
Our very own Chef Marcel and Chef Ed were there to represent the Maumee Valley Chefs Association.  Read below for a peek into Chef Marcels  experiences!

I went to the National ACF convention (my first ever) on Thursday July 12, 2012. I kept a small journal and I would like to share it with you all….

 Thursday …

Chef Ed left Tuesday/Wednesday.  He decided to drive because he was visiting friends and family.  I met up with him on Friday in Orlando. Chef Ed also told me I had to get a tux or nice suit. It’s been 13 years since I wore a suit (my wedding) oh and I rented a tux when I was knighted by the La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. The convention started on Friday, not knowing what to expect I flew out a day earlier making sure not to be late for my first convention. It was kind of sad because my oldest son had some tears so I had some tears as well I assured him Pappa would be back soon. After checking in and paying extra for my luggage (even the airlines do a la carte) I flew out and I arrived at Orlando Int. Airport at 5:30. Taking a half an hour cab to the Hilton Hotel. After settled in I went downstairs and had some great sushi for dinner. I called Chef Ed to check in when he would be arriving and chatted with him on the upcoming events I quickly realized I needed to check into the Marriot the next day. For some dumb reason I thought we would stay in the same hotel (Hilton), that’s what happens if you don’t book your own hotel….


D-Day after tripping over all the little wannabe princesses and family’s that visit Disney I checked in at the Marriot and met up with Chef Ed, we were sharing a room together to keep the cost down.

After unpacking we went downstairs and registered ourselves, the day started with golf which Chef Ed and I skipped. The day started with a Pirate of the Floribbean Ice Breaker Reception for some meet and greet. Chef Ed and I realized we were not really dressed for the occasion but we said our ARRRRRRR and “how you doing Matey, walk the plank” phrases and were quickly embraced into the crew. We had a few cocktails and apps and met some old friends of Chef Eds. The ACF president welcomed us and did a brief overview of the schedule at a Glance for the coming days. After the event we had another cocktail and went to sleep.


We got up at 6 am (way too early for me) and went to breakfast at 7 am at 8 am was our general session and a demo Impossible with Robert Irvine. All very interesting and entertaining, right after that you could get your picture taken and autographs. Since Chef Irvine is the only one I know and I love his shows (of improv) and charisma I took an opportunity to do so. My background and his have some similarities when it comes to his culinary resume. After not sucking up to obvious ( I hope lol) I moved on to my first workshop ”business tips for successful catering” some tips where interesting but the whole work shop was a B-, Chef Ed agreed with me as  he had this work shop at the CIA when he was there.

Lunch time was nicely done by the culinary team of the Marriot. During lunch they awarded the Chef Professionalism Award. After lunch all the Chapter presidents had to attend the Board of Governors meeting. You can compare it with our business/board meeting. I have the minutes and financial statements if you are interested just ask me….


After breakfast, Chef Ed went to Church and I went to a seminar about “certification matters” which I am interested in pursuing my certification. I realized that fine tuning your craft is never a bad thing.

The next was a Maine (American) Lobster Fabrication, lobster facts, fabrication techniques, product utilization and an entrée Preparation. This Chef was also nominated for Chef Educator of the year he did he great job and it was easy to see why he was nominated. Just a tidbit, lobster is healthy. A 3.5 0z serving has

  • Maine lobster: 72 mg Cholesterol-98 calories-0.1 grams  of saturated fat
  • Skinless chicken: 85 mg Chol-173 cal-1.3 g of sat fat
  • Skinless Turkey: 86 mg Chol-140 cal-0.4 sat fat

The Chef did this demo with a live lobster and when he inserted the tip of his knife into the base of the head the crowd gave a little mumble…

And yes again lunch was served (I think I gained 10 pounds in 5 day’s) after lunch the trade show opened and the competitions. Chef Beland CMC was also competing for the “Chef of the year” remember him he was our guest speaker 2 years ago on our scholarship dinner. That afternoon I took it easy and walked the trade show getting ready again to be fed later. The AAC induction ball was at the Waldorf Astoria, I had to get in my suit for the first time a little uncomfortable at first but after nice compliments from Chef Ed I felt better lol. Wow wow we were seated in a large dining room with about 400-500 guest and had an 8 course dinner yes every course had its own wine, needless to say I was tanked at the end of the night. Here is the menu we had….

Jumbo Lump Crab Panache, butter Poached Langoustine & Black Israeli Couscous

Galantine of Capon and Foe Gras

Gillette of Black Trumpets and Truffle Sausage

Pan Seared Red snapper, sun choke Stuffed Fire Morel

Bull and Bear crusted Bone in Filet

Salad of Bijou Goat Cheese, Hydroponic Butter Lettuce, Mache & Armagnac Fig

Wild strawberry fraisier, Basil foam , Meyer lemon Curd, Candy Violet Caramel Tartlet & Victoria Pineapple cake

Chocolate truffles/Coffee


Cocktail hour was from 6 till 7 and we did not get off the table until 12:15 pfff a long sit….so I decided to do some standing back at the hotel with a few drinks….I had a good night of sleep.


We got to sleep in and yes we went to brunch (no wonder we all are a few pounds to heavy) If you had spouses they had a day to go to Disney and the trade show run another day full with competitions. And there was a general session with Chef M Prudhomme; I was disappointed with his performance or lack off. It was more of a sales pitch talk done by his wife…

That night there was nothing else planned so Chef Ed and I left and had dinner outside the hotel.


Was a good one for me with lots of good seminars, an Artisan Chocolate Candies, where is the Pork? Vegetarian and Vegan Charcuterie and How to feed the Planet. The last one I feel strongly connected with, Chef Rick Moonen a celeb Chef did this presentation, and here are just a few statements/information/contrast…

  • · 2 in 5 of kids are obese, 1 in 5 of kids die of hunger
  • · 2012 7 billion people on this planet, By 2040 9 billion people
  • · We are raising more and more cattle and sacrificing farmland while we need more produce
  • · We are eating more farm fish the wild (not all farm fish is bad but look into the way its handled educate yourself)
  • · WACS – World Association of Chef Societies
  • · Know your food. Where did come from? How was I it harvested? (support local grown and seasonal ingredients)

As Chef’s and members of the culinary community, we are stewards of the world’s ecosystem. Please adopt and practice sustainable principles when it comes to purchasing food. I ask your attention for the following please read. This article below and go to the website that is listed on the bottom, read the facts and sign the petition to save Bristol bay on of our last natural food sources in the world that gives us that yummy Alaska sockeye salmon.

About Pebble Mine

The Pebble deposit is a massive storehouse of gold, copper and molybdemum, located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, two of the eight major rivers that feed Bristol Bay. If built, Pebble would be one of the largest mines in the world. Because of its size, geochemistry and location, Pebble runs a high risk of polluting Bristol Bay, one of the world’s few and most productive wild salmon strongholds that supports a $500 million commercial and sport fishery. For this reason, Trout Unlimited is working with a diverse group of fishermen, guides, lodge owners, Alaska Natives, scientists, chef, restaurant owners, seafood lovers and many others to try to stop the Pebble development and to protect Bristol Bay.

The proposed mine developers, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) are a consortium of the world’s second largest multinational mining corporation, London-based Anglo American, along with Northern Dynasty, a junior mining company headquartered in Canada. Anglo American’s environmental track record does not bode well for Bristol Bay and Northern Dynasty has little experience safeguarding the environment having never developed a mine to date. Although PLP has not released its final mine plans, preliminary designs indicate that the Pebble Mine complex would span 20 square miles of state land in the Bristol Bay watershed. Located in a seismically active region, Pebble would require the world’s largest earthen dam to be built, some 700 feet high and several miles in length. Independent scientists have questioned whether the dam could withstand the force of a massive earthquake, such as the 9.2 quake that devastated Anchorage in 1964.

The dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond are intended to hold between 2.5 billion and 10 billion tons of mine waste that Pebble would produce over its lifetime – nearly enough to bury the city of Seattle, WA. Because the sulfide, or acid-generating, nature of the Pebble ore body, the waste would require environmental treatment in perpetuity. Any release of mine waste into the surface or groundwater has the potential to harm Bristol Bay’s salmon runs.
The PLP recently stated that they plan to apply for federal and state permits in spring of 2011. With the developers moving toward permitting, now is the time to get involved to stop this mega-project and protect Bristol Bay. Now is the time to educate elected officials, agency heads, the media and anyone who cares about the future of wild salmon.

Please consider taking action today to stop the proposed Pebble Mine.

As I said early I believe in being sustainable so there is a planet for our kids and future generations. Ok enough of my tree hugging stuff.

After all of this we went to the Presidents Ball, lots of good food and wine again. The dinner concluded the convention. What a great experience I did lots of networking showing of our small but proud chapter and all its accomplishments. I learned a lot about other chapters and Chefs and I am inspired to mentor others by passing on our craft.

Thank you,

Chef Marcel Hesseling

Comments are closed.