Guest Speakers

Dec 17, 2017, 13:26

Guest Speaker: Cooking on Your Terms—on the Side

Why culinary teachers should consider operating a personal-chef business as an adjunct career. It’s not only for the additional income.

By Candy Wallace

These days in foodservice we hear a lot of talk about the future, because the industry is constantly changing. The personal-chef career path might have started out as a fad in the early 1990s, but with the hard work of a small group of committed individuals, it has grown into a legitimate culinary career acknowledged by the largest organization of professional cooks in the Western Hemisphere, the American Culinary Federation. Since 2002, when I signed a partnering agreement with the ACF on behalf of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), the ACF has certified personal chefs.

I am the founder and executive director of the largest professional personal- and private-chef trade association in the United States—and a working personal chef. Twenty years ago, many of my colleagues went on record that personal chefs were merely a fad and would never last as a legitimate culinary-career choice. Some went so far as to say that personal chefs are not “real” chefs.

Today, however, successful personal chefs are making comfortable, satisfying livings, and the vocation continues to become more mainstream each year. Personal chefs are here to stay, and this career choice will continue to flourish as more culinary and hospitality students and career-changers choose to follow their dreams of entrepreneurship doing what they love most: cooking wholesome, palate-specific food for others.

Guest Speaker: The 800-Mile Cheeseburger

A veteran educator takes a road trip in search of the perfect bite.

By Bruce Konowalow, CCE

Finding good food in out-of-the-way places has been second nature to my wife, Carolle, and me. We have traveled 300-plus miles for a smoked-beef sandwich at Ben’s in Montreal, midnight trips to Chinatown in New York City, early-morning sojourns to the backdoor of Bridgeport, Conn.’s Zeislers bakery for fresh pastries still hot out of the oven, and have taken trips to eastern Long Island, Cape Cod and Connecticut for a good lobster roll.

Part of this quest has always been to find the holy grail of burgers, beefy nirvana. I do not know if there really is a best burger, but the experience is the thing. Those trips have taken us to quaint seaside clam shacks, rustic barbecue venues and hole-in-the-wall joints in big cities.

That being said, it came as no surprise to my wife when I asked her if she wanted to go to Amarillo to have a great burger at a little joint called the Coyote Bluff Café, a burger restaurant we had just seen on the Travel Channel. We were living in Dallas, so Amarillo was a good six-hour drive with few pit stops. The trip required a couple of tanks of gas and an overnight stay, so we knew these $8 burgers were going to cost about $75 each.  We scurried to the library for a couple of tour books and hit the road.

Guest Speaker: Is It Time to Reinvent Culinary Education?

As high-school seniors yearn to become star chefs, more colleges consider the leap to culinary education. The result is a glut of programs all vying to meet enrollment goals. Meanwhile, the cost of a quality culinary education far exceeds earning potential.

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

Although it seems impossible to find an accurate number, it appears there might be as many as 2,000 programs in the United States that offer some form of “professional” culinary degree or certificate.

The cost of providing quality educational programs has skyrocketed as colleges strive to remain competitive with student-to-faculty ratios, state-of-the-art facilities and sufficient equipment to meet the needs of the curriculum and provide the right amount of “sizzle” to attract students.

As high-school seniors and career changers become more enthralled with the marketed glamour of working in kitchens and a vision of becoming a star chef, more and more colleges consider the leap to culinary education.

Guest Speaker: My Path to My Passion

As the American Culinary Federation’s 2013 National Chef Educator of the Year learned from her fourth-grade teacher, to achieve success in the classroom, a good instructor must be able to recognize the learning styles of his or her students and adjust his or her teaching style accordingly. Because every student deserves a Miss Farber.

By Leslie Eckert, CCE, CWPC, MBA

“It takes time to discover what works for you.”

As a child in elementary school I learned differently from all the other kids around me. It took me longer to absorb and retain information, and I had to work twice as hard to achieve accuracy with regards to technique. I was labeled a slow learner in second grade and attended summer school just to keep up with my third-grade class. Fourth grade came like all the other grades, but I soon realized on the first day of class this year was going to be different.

Miss Farberwas an incredible teacher who made learning fun, easy and exciting, and thinking back now, her style of teaching was so different from my previous teachers. Miss Farber incorporated games, pictures, role-playing, colors and sounds in our daily learning and promoted a learner-centered classroom. It was an incredible year, and I missed Miss Farber as I entered into fifth grade, where I found myself confronted with the old style of teaching and learning. Was the magic of learning gone for good?

Guest Speaker: Building Your Professional Brand Helps Every Student

Simply preparing for your classes and delivering material is never sufficient. You have an obligation to yourself, your students and your institution to stay in touch with the industry you represent by building your personal, professional brand.

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

As a culinary-arts faculty member, program director or dean, you are a lifelong portal for every student you come in contact with. The value of their education extends beyond the quality of the material that you offer or even the important degree that they might eventually receive. The real value of their education lies in the ongoing significance of their connections to you and to the reputation of your institution

Students’ value expectations today are, as they should be, far greater than in the past. The stakes are more significant as a result of the escalating cost of a degree and the tangible outcomes that will be apparent throughout their careers. Students should expect that you and your institution will remain a resource for them and that the perceptions that peers and employers have of your institution remain positive as they move through various stages of their careers.

To this end, it is imperative that you invest in building your brand. By this I am referring to how you continue to enhance your knowledge and skills, the industry connections that you make, and your visible prominence in the fields of culinary arts and education.

Throughout your time in culinary education and even beyond, investment in your brand development is also an investment in every student’s brand development. I like to refer to this as your “network of influence.” LinkedIn is really an attempt to help individuals build on the concept of “network of influence” by encouraging professionals to catalogue those persons who have or could have an impact on their careers—directly or indirectly. Every time you invest in building professional relationships with others, you open a potential door for yourself and those with whom you have a “portal relationship.”