Chefs from the American Culinary Federation’s Northeast and Southeast regions will gather for hands-on workshops, culinary demonstrations and professional development opportunities during ChefConnect: Atlanta, March 13-15, at Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Local Atlanta chefs and James Beard award winners, Hugh Acheson and Linton Hopkins, are the featured speakers for the event.

The conference is part of ACF’s Signature Series, which provides educational and networking opportunities for culinary industry professionals and students. ChefConnect: Atlanta will feature cooking demonstrations and career development seminars, and provide networking opportunities for chefs, students and foodservice professionals. Topics will highlight culinary trends for 2016 and include discussions on food pairings, beef trends, Southern cooking, and French pastry techniques. In addition, a workshop will take place on the topic of molecular gastronomy, where attendees can learn how to incorporate affordable culinary technology into the classroom.

Eight student teams from the Northeast and Southeast will compete in the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers. The knowledge bowl is a jeopardy-style culinary competition that includes questions on culinary, baking, nutrition, sanitation and math. The winning team from each region will travel to Cook. Craft. Create. Convention & Show, Phoenix, July 15-19, to compete for the national title at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

Additional regional awards will be announced at ChefConnect: Atlanta, including ACF Chef Educator of the Year Award, Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award, Achievement of Excellence Awards and President’s Cutting Edge Awards sponsored by Friedr Dick Corp.

ChefConnect: Atlanta is open to the public but geared toward foodservice professionals. Registration is required on-site and day badges range from $200-375 depending on time of purchase.

March 14:

  • 1:30-5 p.m.: Eight student teams compete in a jeopardy-style culinary competition in the Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix.
  • 2-3 p.m.: Gain insight into French Pastry Techniques using Plugrá European-Style Butter with Patrice Caillot, pastry chef instructor, The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago.
  • 2-3 p.m.: Learn how exposing students to the science of food can lead to creativity and a better understanding of culinary fundamentals at Molecular Gastronomy and Technology in the Classroom withDavid Campbell, CCC, CCE, chef instructor, State University of New York at Cobleskill, New York.
  • 2-3 p.m.: Join Sara Hill, culinary manager, cheese education, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Madison, Wisconsin, and Jane Nickles, director of education, Society of Wine Educators, Washington, D.C., at Principles of Wine & Cheese Pairing to explore flavors and complexities of wine and cheese.
  • 3:15-4:15 p.m.: Certified Master Chefs demonstrate and discuss several popular dishes of Thailand and Vietnam during The Gastronomy of Southeast Asia, presented by Thomas Griffiths, CMC, global vice president, Campbell's Culinary & Baking Institute, Campbell Soup Company, Camden, New Jersey, and Steve Jilleba, CMC, CCE, AAC, corporate executive chef, Unilever Food Solutions, Lisle, Illinois.
  • 3:15-4:15 p.m.: Join Dave Zino, executive chef, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Centennial, Colorado, as he examines the beef trends that should be on the minds and in the kitchens of today's progressive chefs during Trends Come and Go – Beef is Here to Stay.
  • 5-6 p.m.: Wook Kang, CEC, assistant professor/culinary instructor, Culinary Department, Kendall College, Chicago, will demonstrate the techniques of Korean-inspired fermentation and the role it can have in modern cuisine during Flavors of Kimchi.

March 15:

  • 10-11 a.m.: Take a journey through Southern history and heritage by learning the secrets of perfect Southern Biscuit Making with Denny Trantham, CEC, CCA, division chef and culinary consultant, US Foods, Fort Mill, South Carolina. Attendees will review various applications along with a variety of fresh jams and whipped butters to accompany this rich Southern tradition.
  • 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: From savory breakfast samosas to a unique twist on paella, attendees will. explore and taste how turkey creates the perfect canvas for today's flavor profiles during Authentic Global Flavors Across Courses with Asha Gomez, chef/entrepreneur, Spice to Table, Atlanta.
  • 2:15-3:15 p.m.: Eat the Enemy: Cooking with Invasive Lionfish demonstrates how to utilize this invasive species in recipes that use grouper and snapper, presented by Gary Klinefelter, CEC, executive chef, Diplomat Prime, Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida, and Anton Doos, III, CEC, instructor/executive chef, The Virgin Islands Department of Education, Christiansted, St. Croix.
  • 3:45-4:45 p.m.: Join Ray Farmer, CEC, executive vice president of sales and production, Halpern's Purveyors of Steak and Seafood, Atlanta, for Innovative Beef Cuts, to learn new twists and cutting methods in beef butchery, including Times Square strips, standing rib chops, château wings, tenderloin sizzlers, and at least 15 different ways to use short ribs.
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