Menu trends, cooking with Kentucky bourbon, gluten-free baking, and childhood nutrition are some of the topics that will be discussed during the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Southeast Regional Conference at the Louisville Marriot Downtown, March 1 to 4. Hosted by ACF Kentucky Chapter, the conference brings together hundreds of foodservice professionals, chefs, and students for networking, educational opportunities, cooking competitions, a trade show, and demonstrations from the region’s best chefs, including several from the Louisville area.

The Southeast Regional Conference features Louisville chefs with a mix of national food and retail experts. Dean Corbett, chef and owner of Corbett’s: An American Place, Louisville, will deliver the keynote address during general session, March 3, at 8:30 a.m.; Dallas McGarity, executive chef, The Marketplace at Theater Square is competing for the regional Chef of the Year title on March 2; and Gerry Ludwig, executive chef, Gordon Food Service, will discuss menu trends for 2013. Media is welcome to attend the conference and competitions. Most competitions take place off-site at Sullivan University, Louisville, with regional winners announced Monday evening at the awards gala. Here is a look at the events:

Saturday, March 2                                                                                                                                

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m.: Albert Schmid, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, demonstrates how to incorporate bourbon into cuisine. A book signing will follow the session.
  • 8:30-9:30 a.m.: Chefs learn about new trends in Top Trends and Menu Ideas for 2013, sponsored by Gordon Food Service.
  • 9 a.m.-noon:  Four chefs, including Louisville chef Dallas McGarity, compete at Sullivan University for regional title of Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions.
  • 9 a.m.-noon: Four chefs compete at Sullivan University for regional title of Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá European Style Butter.
  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Six teams, including a team from Sullivan University, compete at Sullivan University for regional title of Student Team Championship, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber, Inc.
  • 10:15-11:15 a.m.: Attendees learn how to make simple, healthy exchanges in kid’s menu offerings during A Healthy Approach to Children’s Menus, sponsored by the Chef & Child Foundation.
  • 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.: Attendees interact with specialty products and services from 30 national, regional, and local exhibitors during the trade show. Recipe competition for Flavors of the Mediterranean-A Minute Rice Competition, sponsored by Riviana Foods, will take place on the trade show floor.
  • 12:45-3:30 p.m.: Three students, including Kendall Knies from Sullivan University, compete for regional title of Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Billy Webb, owner of Sheltowee Farm, Salt Lick, Ky., explains the farming and shipping process of gourmet mushrooms.
  • 2:30-6:30 p.m.: Six student teams compete in the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers.

Sunday, March 3

  • 8:30-11 a.m.: Louisville chef and owner of Corbett’s: An American Place Dean Corbett delivers the keynote address during general session. Several awards presented.
  • 9 a.m-3 p.m.: Student teams compete at Sullivan University in the hot-food portion of the regional Student Team Championship, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber.
  • 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Matthew Burton, CEC, and James Valentine teach chefs how to cut 100 calories from favorite menu dishes without compromising taste in Seductive Nutrition.
  • 2:15-3:15 p.m.: Mark Williams, chef and Slow Food USA Southeast Regional Governor discusses how valuable chefs are to the nonprofit community in Cooking with a Sense of Purpose: The Chef Activist.
  • 3:45-4:45 p.m.: 2011 National Pastry Champion Joshua Johnson reveals techniques that make memorable desserts in Dark Chocolate, Coffee, and Whipped-Caramel Cups, sponsored by Plugrá European Style Butter.
  • 3:45-4:45 p.m.: Daniel Pliska, CEC, teaches attendees how to create fusion cuisine during Tailoring Global Cuisine for American Tastes.
  • 3:45-4:45 p.m.: In Changing How We Think about Flour, Michael Kalanty, CEPC, CCE, reviews types of flours and their uses. A book signing will follow the session.
  • 6-9 p.m.: Attendees experience some of the best cuisine Louisville has to offer through a progressive dinner tour with five of the city’s top restaurants. Registration with the chapter is required.

Monday, March 4

  • 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Matt Jamie, owner/founder of Bourbon Barrel Foods, talks about his signature product, Bluegrass Soy Sauce, in Roll out the Barrels.
  • 10:15-11:15 a.m.: BAM: Beef Alternative Merchandising education session teaches chefs everything they want to know about serving rib-eye, strip loin, and sirloin.
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.: Joy Perrine, bartender and co-author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, demonstrates bourbon cocktails to attendees. A book signing will follow the demonstration.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Barbara Turner, CWPC, demonstrates simple ways to make gluten-free baked goods in Gluten-Free Baking.
  • 7-9 p.m.: Competition winners announced at the Regional Awards Gala.

Hundreds of chefs, foodservice professionals and students will attend this year’s culinary conference in Louisville. There will be educational seminars, culinary demos, networking and social functions, culinary competitions, meal events, and more. For information, visit or call (800) 624-9458.

National and regional sponsors of the 2013 ACF events series are: Alabama Gulf Seafood; Allen Brothers; American Roland Food Corporation; American Technical Publishers; Barry Callebaut; The Beef Checkoff; BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.; Campbell Soup Company; Canada Cutlery Inc.; Central Region State Beef Councils; Clemens Food Group; Custom Culinary, Inc.; Ecolab; Gordon Food Service; Idaho Potato Commission; Idaho Preferred; Irinox USA; Jim Beam American Stillhouse; Johnson & Wales University; JTM Food Group; Kentucky Beef Council; Lactalis Foodservice; Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc.; McCormick For Chefs; MINOR’S; Mississippi Beef Council; Mississippi Seafood Marketing; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc.; North Carolina Beef Council; Plugrá European Style Butter; PreGel AMERICA; R.L. Schreiber, Inc.; RC Fine Foods; Riviana Foods; S&D Coffee; Sysco; Tennessee Beef Industry Council; Tyson Food Service; Unilever Food Solutions; Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc.; Virginia Beef Industry Council; Vitamix Corporation; Winston Industries, LLC;and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

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