More than 1,200 chefs and students, the highest attendees in 10 years, experienced the industry-leading culinary event.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) hosted suspenseful and action-packed competitions among the nation’s top chefs during the four-day ACF National Convention at the World Center Marriott in Orlando during August. Competitions were conducted throughout six kitchens where chefs and students competed for national titles in front of live audiences.
Attendees also experienced presentations by more than 30 top culinary leaders and industry experts. An array of cutting-edge industry topics were explored through panel discussions and hands-on demonstrations, including cooking with cannabis, the flavors of Mexico, the benefits of waste reduction and plant-forward cuisine. This year’s first-ever Women Leaders Symposium, “United in Food: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow,” featured panel discussions and keynotes from leading voices in the industry, including Chef Einav Gefen from FairKitchens, on hot topics like the value of mentorship, mental wellness and women trailblazers in the culinary arts.
ACF National Award Winners
Winners of ACF Regional Culinary Salons competed for the national title in their respective categories during the Convention and demonstrated their culinary skills, knowledge and commitment to the craft. The ACF national competition award winners are:
ACF Chef of the Year™, sponsored by Centerline Brackets
Reilly Meehan, CEC, Executive Sous Chef, The Bohemian Club, San Francisco California
ACF Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by KitchenAid Commercial
SSG Samantha Poe, Food Service Specialist, Army Executive Dining Facility at the Pentagon and Enlisted Aide to the Army Chief of Staff
ACF Chef Educator of the Year
Scott Steiner, CCE, AAC, faculty member Niagara County Community College, Sanborn, New York
ACF Student Chef of the Year
Hitomi Tomobe, student, Oakland Community College, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Hermann G. Rusch Award
John Folse, CEC, AAC, HOF, restaurant owner and television chef, New Orleans, Louisiana
ACF Student Team National Championship, sponsored by R.L. Schreiber
Oregon Coast Culinary Institute Student Team
Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl
Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College: Stanley Mersino, Rachelle Murphy, Kate Strauss and Camryn Potter; Coach: Amanda Miller
A full list of award recipients, along with pictures and videos are available at https://www.acfchefs.org/ACF/Events/Awards/ACF/Events/Awards/.