2009 Western Regional Conference
The 2009 ACF Western Regional Conference was a spectacular representation of the Pacific Northwest’s finest culinary and local offerings. My wholehearted appreciation goes out to the ACF Washington State Chefs Association, our host chapter. Gary Fuller, chapter president, and Fiona Ronyai, chapter executive director, along with their entourage of volunteers, did an admirable job of organizing and executing an extraordinary event. Photos to come.
The pre-conference session, Successful Management for Our Times, sponsored by Canada Cutlery Inc., reaffirmed that career-advancing opportunities are crucial in today’s economic climate. The conference began with a multimedia presentation sponsored by Canola Council of Canada/CanolaInfo that entertained and enlightened us on flavor enhancing without trans fat. The day progressed with the opening of the trade show, where metro-natural flavors were all the rage. Tasting stations were abundant, and I was thrilled to see cutting-edge exhibitors such as D.V. Cuisine and Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards.
Local companies Pike Brewing Company and Starbucks Foodservice highlighted the need for harmony in food-and-drink pairing. Charles Finkel, owner, Pike Brewing Company, presented For the Love of Beer: a brief history of beer, the craft of brewing, and how food and beer go hand-in-hand. D. Major Cohen, senior coffee education specialist with Starbucks Coffee Company, gave a phenomenal presentation exploring unique characteristics of coffee and its inherent relationship with cuisine.
The Career Development Series: Nutrition, presented by the ACF Chef & Child Foundation, focused on vegetarian options and experienced full-house attendance. And on the other end of the food lifestyle spectrum, the Western State Beef Council’s panel of experts orchestrated an exceptionally professional and informative overview of the beef industry in the Western United States.
I’d like to recognize Boyd’s Coffee Company for its ever-present and ever-hospitable coffee service. From the pre-conference sessions through the last cup at the Vice President’s Gala, they offered every coffee variety imaginable.
Our junior members displayed an amazing depth of knowledge at the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by Pearson Education. Furthermore, the energy and innovation displayed on the competition floor by all of our competitors was inspiring. I wish our competition winners good luck as they advance to the national convention in Orlando, Fla., July 11–14, to compete for the ultimate ACF 2009 titles.
The Vice President’s Gala closed the conference with a delectable menu, gracious company and the announcement of this year’s regional award recipients. Congratulations to all.
Thank you to all of our sponsors and exhibitors. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.