Guest Speakers

Apr 1, 2020, 1:20

Guest Speaker: Ask Gale Gand about Being a Chef

Saturday, 01 February 2014 08:00

A star of such televised cook-offs as “Top Chef” and “Food Network Challenge” alerts educators that Women Chefs & Restaurateurs will hold its annual conference in Chicago during National Women’s History Month.

By Elizabeth Falkner

I want to share my enthusiasm for the upcoming Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) Annual Conference in Chicago, March 9-11. The conferences have continually been a highlight to my years as a chef. Being surrounded by like-minded professional women for a few days leaves me inspired and grateful for being in this field. I’ve met some incredible women and have maintained long-lasting relationships.

The highlight of the conference, The Women Who Inspire Gala, is being held at the Chicago Art Institute this year, and will be emceed by Rick Bayless. We gather some of the best chefs in the community to cook for you, as well as a celebrity-chef-studded 2nd Annual WCR Culinary Challenge. This year we have Stephanie Izard, Christina Tosi and Hedy Goldsmith, to name a few.

The conference offers you a great opportunity to mingle with some of the best in the business. Have cocktails with Deanna Bayless. Ask Barbara Lynch or Gale Gand about being a chef. Talk to Nell Newman or Ina Pinkney about the business of restaurants or production. The opportunities for networking are endless.

The theme this year is the Art of Keeping It Green, Environmentally and Financially. Renowned restaurateur Rohini Dey will provide the opening remarks about women seeking financial success in the culinary world. We will be exploring green topics relevant to women and their businesses.

WCR is a great organization and becoming stronger every day. Come join us. Take a peek at the registration and you will see the wide variety of events, classes and tours that are calling for your participation. Go to and register.


Elizabeth Falkner, executive chef of Corvo Bianco in New York City, frequently appears as a competitor and judge on TV cooking competitions, including “The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs,” “The Next Iron Chef, Redemption,” “Chopped All Stars,” “Top Chef Masters,” “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and “Food Network Challenge.” She is the incoming president of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.


Guest Speaker: Lessons Learned in 2013

Friday, 10 January 2014 23:01

Among many professional-development events held last year, the sum of different voices, perspectives and expertise areas was the most valuable take-away.

By Mary Petersen

I was privileged to attend several professional events in 2013 including annual conferences for the American Culinary Federation, the Research Chefs Association, Chefs Collaborative, the American Council for Technical Education the International Foodservice Editorial Council; and the National Restaurant Association, in addition to three CAFÉ events: the first postsecondary Deans and Directors Retreat, the 9th-annual CAFÉ Leadership Conference and The Science of Baking Workshop.

These events focused on present challenges and offered numerous ideas for coping with the future. I thought I would share (in no particular order) some relevant (to me and perhaps to you) highlights:

Guest Speaker: Cooking on Your Terms—on the Side

Monday, 09 December 2013 20:19

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

Friday, 08 November 2013 18:49

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?

Friday, 04 October 2013 16:55

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.