Embracing a sustainable future is the theme for the 2014 American Culinary Federation (ACF) events series, and kicking off the first of five events in 2014 is the ACF Western Regional Conference taking place in Oakland, California, March 2–5. Hosted by ACF San Francisco Chapter, the conference will be held at Oakland Marriott City Center, Oakland.

As consumers are increasing their demand for the culinary industry to use sustainable and farm-to-table practices, the 2014 ACF events series’ goal is to educate chefs and foodservice professionals on how to execute these practices within the industry in a way that is cost-effective and attainable.

ACF’s Western Regional Conference will feature chefs and foodservice professionals teaching attendees how to implement sustainable practices in the foodservice industry through hands-on demonstrations and seminars. Topics include how to successfully incorporate wild foods onto the menu, how to develop flavorful dishes with low environmental impact, how chefs can find solutions for real-world problems using green food technology, as well as how to make farm-to-table practices feasible for restaurants.

During General Session, March 3, 8–11 a.m., author and cooking show host Martin Yan, of Yan Can Cook, will present a cooking demonstration. Keynote speaker Narsai David, food and wine editor at KCBS in San Francisco, will speak to attendees on the evolution of California cuisine.

The conference is open to the public.

Monday, March 3

  • 8–11 a.m.: At General Session, attendees will gather to watch a demonstration by Martin Yan, president, Yan Can Cook, Foster City, California, and listen to keynote speaker Narsai David, food and wine editor for KCBS San Francisco.
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.: In Being Green Can Be Delicious Chris Jones, director of culinary innovations at  Hampton Creek Foods, will show attendees how chefs can solve problems using green technologies
  • 12:30–3 p.m.:  Four aspiring chefs compete in ACF Western Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc., at Laney College, Oakland
  • 12:30–3:30 p.m.: Three pastry chefs compete in ACF Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá European-Style Butter, at Laney College
  • 2:30–5:00 p.m.: Four chefs from the West compete in ACF Regional Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions, at Laney College
  • 4–5 p.m.: Chefs will learn how to successfully forage for menu items in Bringing Home Wild Food with James Beard award-winning cookbook author, Hank Shaw
  • 4–5 p.m.: Foodservice professionals will learn how to plan for their future using wealth management strategies specifically for people in the culinary industry in The Investing Chef

Tuesday, March 4

  • 8:30–9:30 a.m.: Attendees will learn how to make flavorful dishes that are environmentally friendly in Applying Carbon Footprint to the Menu to Achieve High Flavor
  • 8:30–9:30 a.m.:  Food Allergies and Creating Customer Satisfaction will help chefs become more aware of how to meet and exceed consumers’ dining needs
  • 9 a.m.–6 p.m.: Student teams compete for ACF Student Team Regional Championship, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber, Inc., at Laney College.
  • 1–6 p.m.: Student teams compete in the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, a “Jeopardy”-style culinary knowledge competition, sponsored by American Technical Publishers
  • 2:45–3:45 p.m.: Fruit for the Future will teach foodservice professionals how to procure and prepare new exotic fruits being introduced into the marketplace    
  • 2:30–3:30 p.m.: Peruvian cuisine was named as an up-and-coming menu trend in 2014, and chefs will learn more about the country’s popular dishes in Tastes of Peru
  • 4:30–5:30 p.m.: Tasting Wine the Master’s Way provides an in-depth look at how to effectively use the techniques of master sommeliers in tasting wine

Wednesday, March 5

  • 8:30–9:30 a.m.: Culinary Sustainability Through Technology will demonstrate how restaurants can incorporate sustainability practices through available technology to maximize profit and productivity
  • 10:15–11:15 a.m.: Attendees will learn about beekeeping, honey processing, and how to cook with honey in From Hive to Table
  • 10:15-11:15 a.m.: Food Terminology will clarify the differences between industry-related terms such as sustainable and organic for foodservice professionals
  • 1–2 p.m.: So You Want to Be a Chef Farmer will show chefs how to successfully raise their own food and wine, compost, and build relationships with local farmers
  • 2:30–3:30 p.m.: 2013 U.S.A’s Chef of the Year, Eddie Tancredi, CEC, will teach attendees how to make innovative dishes with high performance blenders in Blending Professional and Personal Success
  •  7–9 p.m.: Award competitor winners will be announced at the Awards Gala


Chef Profiles, Industry News, Sustainability