The influential chef

Last time we spoke about the “Keeping Pace with the Changing Face of Accreditation” workshop that was a part of the Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention and Show.

 I spent additional time on that topic because I see accreditation as very important to our culinary industry at this juncture and I truly believe that all of our local chefs are at the point where they should pursue this accreditation for their further development, as with the advent of numerous international culinary events held in Barbados, we should be way past how chefs are presently rated locally. Our chefs should now be looking towards international acclaim and this can only be achieved through accreditation.

 This though was just one small part of the entire ACF Convention, as a number of topics was covered through the workshops, seminars and presentations, ranging from butchery, ServSafe and HACCP training, wine and cheese manufacturing and pairing, beer in terms of its pairing with food, modern trends in the culinary arts such as the changing shape of food, bread making, ice carving, vegetable sculpture, basic bee keeping for the Executive Chef – which applies to the type of honey that is harvested and how it is used in cooking and even the effect of music on our taste buds.

 What I found really interesting and what emphasized the power that this gathering of chefs has on the culinary landscape is how they influence what the next trend in food will be. Already I can tell you that the focus will be on beef and the way it is used on the breakfast menu. This was evident in one of the workshops entitled BEEF: Breakfast, Brunch & Beyond, presented by Patrick Mitchell, Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and a member of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC).

 In this workshop, he touched on a number of ways that beef could be used for breakfast, clearly in an attempt to elevate this commodity to the level of ham and bacon. He demonstrated the use of beef with eggs in breakfast applications and also demonstrated and discussed a number of ways in which beef could be used as an alternative to the more popular smoked and salted breakfast meats.

 This workshop was sponsored by The Beef Checkoff, which is a producer-funded marketing and research programme designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef. What was also evident here, was how these organisations throw their full support behind such events and use the power of the chefs in developing and marketing their produce and products.  So every one of the over fifty workshops was sponsored by some organisation wanting to be a part of the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

Chefs are taught the latest trends in culinary arts.
Culinary delights made from beef on display.
One of the 50 workshops at the ACF event.
Participants at the ACF Convention.

 What was clear here as well was the respect for the chefs who are members of the ACF, because here is where the sponsors benefit from the pool of knowledge accumulated by this collection of professionals over the countless years. This was brought home even more to me during a conversation with John Beaudrie, Honorary American Academy of Chefs (HAAC) member, who is the Division Sales Manager, Southern Division for S&D Coffee & Tea.

 S&D Coffee & Tea is the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America and they provided coffee and tea throughout the entire convention; this was no small contribution, as you are talking about providing hot beverages for the over 1,000 delegates for breakfast, morning breaks, lunch, afternoon break, as well as dinner events.

 Mr Beaudrie explained that his company was happy to be involved with the ACF Convention for the last ten years as it offered them the opportunity to stay in close contact with the chefs, who influence what brands are purchased for their establishment. It also affords S&D Coffee & Tea the opportunity to introduce their new blends to the captive audience; this time around, it was the TODDY cold brew coffee. I too, had an opportunity to partake of this new blend being offered and I can tell you, although I am not the strongest coffee drinker, it did go down very well and is indeed something to write home about.

 In our next article, I’ll tell you about a presenter who overcame a very common challenge to become a successful business owner and an extremely popular television personality. We’ll also delve into the effect of sound on food, coming out of a workshop entitled “How to Taste With Your Ears”.

Source: (Peter Edey is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation, a graduate of l’École Ritz Escoffier, Paris and a Certified Caribbean Hospitality Trainer peter@dcbarbados.com)

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