Black and white seeed to be the ongoing theme at this past weeks ACF (American Culinary Federation) Convention in Orlando,FL. Everyone was wearing black and white chef attire. The ACF convention takes place once a year usually in Las Vegas (I wouldn’t mind playing some poker) but this year they had it at the Marriott World Hotel & Convention Center in Orlando. There where countless things to do like attend a grand chefs dinner, interesting seminars, cooking demos and a culinary trade show. At the trade show there were lots of vendors. They had Tyson chicken, U.S. Foodservice, Wisconsin Cheese, Chefuniforms.com and M&M Mars (yes they make more then just candy) and the list goes on. The best part of the trip (I’m being sarcastic here) was discovering at the entry way to the trade show that I wasn’t allowed in since I was under 16 years old! “ Your meaning to tell me that we drove 3 hours, booked a hotel room, printed out hundreds of business cards to be let down like this!!!” is what I wanted to say to the women checking the entry. However, my dad used a bit of diplomacy and a few phone calls later we got in, whew!!!
My Dad and I in front of a sculpture made entirely out of kitchen utensils.
Many of the vendors had food, and more food, and did I mention they had food? I couldn’t help myself, every where I turned there was a different smell, something interesting, FOOD!!! One of our first stops was the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) Booth. I was given a packet (which was in the shape of a chef’s jacket) that contained various details and info. about the CIA. We also talked to one of their representatives about applying, which made me incredibly excited.
Culinary competitionDuring the trade show there are plenty of competitions to watch. There was Student of the Year competition, Student Team of the year competition (team Hawaii was looking sharp), Instructor of the Year competition and lots more. They even had a Knowledge Bowl which is a culinary version of Jeopardy (how sick is that). We’ll take “can you measure up for 20 points” said Johnson and Wales, the question “how many teaspoons in a cup?” (I was trying to figure it out in my head) The answer was“ 48 teaspoons” (thats a lot of teaspoons). I did know the answer to some of the questions, like how to de-skin hazelnuts or how to balance out zero on an electronic measuring scale.
Knowledge Bowl aka: Culinary Jeopardy
Besides gathering lots of information and having fun, my dad and I where also there to promote JeremyCooks.com. Sunday night was the Caribbean Sunset Carnival. They had crab on plantains, several types of fish, a whole roast pork (tender to the touch) the best corn on the cob I have ever devoured (it was so moist and the butter was infused with citrus), and the Cuban sandwiches were fantastic. For dessert there was Mocha Tres Leche (milk cake). Part of the dinner was sponsored by the Child and Chef Foundation which is a spectacular program that teaches kids nutrition and how to to cook (I’m learning more about it, so stay tuned).
Trade show floor
All in all the convention was amazing. In addition to walking away with a 100 packets and a lot of free items, the experience was unforgettable. I was disappointed that I didn't walk away with anything from the National Onion Association (That's right, an organization for onions!). After we left the hotel we went for a bite at Wolfgang Pucks Pizza Express in Downtown Disney and then I drove all the way home (practice makes perfect).