From Chef Lucio: Insights & Inspirations from ACF National Convention

Four make chefs pose standing for a picture with a convention happening in the background.

This past July I had the honor of representing our chapter at the annual ACF National  Convention. It was wonderful to be in The Big Easy with so many colleagues and friends, many of whom we met last year when we hosted the convention here in Las Vegas. Several of them mentioned how unforgettable our convention was, expressed gratitude for our chapter support, and said they couldn’t wait to attend the next convention we host. None of these comments would be received if it wasn’t for your support last year, and I thank you for that.

On to notes from this year’s convention. Overall it was a great opportunity to learn new techniques in a conference where all of our voices are so needed to keep our network, our mission, and our legacy alive and thriving. 

Kudos to the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) on hosting a wonderful welcome reception. It was a great way to reconnect with our fellow chefs and meet new friends while enjoying three floors of excitement and tasting exciting products from sponsors.

From there, the schedule was filled with three days of many wonderful seminars and exhibits. Attendees had the opportunity to taste and explore the latest products from more than 60 sponsors. I also greatly enjoyed many of the seminars, but wanted to bring a few highlights back to our members:

Storytelling Through Texture, Taste, and Flavor
Chef Stefan Riemer, Pastry Culinary Director on the F&B Culinary Development team for Disney Parks, Experience and Products shared great insights on how he develops the pastry menu for Disney. He also talked about his passion for mentorship and how we can grow and support the next generation of culinarians – which is very important to continuing excellence in our industry. 

Chef Lucio Arancibia poses for a picture with Chef Stefan Riemer at ACF National Convention.
Chef Lucio Arancibia with Chef Stefan Riemer

Mental Mise en Place 
Chef Brother Luck, the James Beard-nominated Chef/Restaurateur is a passionate advocate for mental health in the culinary industry. During his presentation he shared insights on the importance of wellbeing for those involved in the culinary world. It’s not something we often talk about, but we should talk about more. This industry can be tough, but it’s important to make sure your head is in the right place before you come into work. 

Culinary Principles; 10 Reasons Why Traceably Sustainable Is Also Delicious
Chef Hari Pulapaka, PhD, CEC, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Stetson University presented an illustrative cooking demo that told the story of the lifecycle of ingredients from birth through the global supply chains. With increases in technological capabilities that make it easier to trace sourcing, it’s important to source traceably transparent and sustainable ingredients. 

Chef Lucio with Chef Hari Pulapaka

Overall the ACF National Convention was a great experience for networking, learning, and enjoying our beloved American Culinary Federation. As we move forward into the new year of membership, I want to remind you of some goals for our chapter: 

  • Make our chapter stronger and grow members while making a difference for chefs in our community
  • Focus on member engagement by building a culture of inclusiveness, fostering diversity and collaboration
  • Increase professional growth through mentorship, education, competition, and certification
  • Elevate and spotlight our chapter’s successes and culinary artistry through local and national competitions
  • Increase engagement in ACF leadership positions and the ACF chef community
  • Continue to build the strongest culinary network in the country

ACF Chefs of Las Vegas, has come a long way; let’s keep growing for the future of our industry, keep the progress of diversity, education, opportunities, equity and inclusion going for the growth and betterment of our Chapter. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be of service to all, and our organization that has served me so well in my 32 years of membership.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Chapter Meeting on September 13. Please, bring a friend! 

Cheers 🥂

In food and community,

Chef Lucio Arancibia CEC / AAC / MCFE
Board President

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