9 uncommon reasons to attend ACF National Convention: Orlando this August


There are plenty of reasons to attend ACF National Convention: Orlando on August 4-8. Sure, there’s the usual stuff: The networking! The celebrity chef speakers! The competitions! And there’s even the unusual stuff, like the Women’s Symposium and the only-once-every-four-years American Culinary Classic.

But we thought we’d take a few moments to highlight some of the things you might not have added to your “Pro” column when deciding whether or not to attend this year. (Which you should absolutely do ASAP, as prices will go up after July 6!)

Keep your eye on our Instagram for more reasons to attend. For now, here are a few of our faves from the literally hundreds to choose from.

Reason #383: Attendees receive 24.5 CEHs toward their ACF Certification.

But you don’t have to take our word for it.

Reason #131: There’s a pirate party.

At this year’s Welcome Reception, we’ll embark on a historic celebration of the ACF’s 90th Anniversary!


Chef Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo will lead a session on latest techniques and trends in Asian cooking. The session will focus on dumplings and dim sum.

Reason #33: We’ll convince you why you should use vegetables in your desserts.

Vegetables have been used in desserts for decades, usually out of necessity. But pastry chefs are now starting to purposely look to the “other” side of the produce department for new inspiration. Chef Kristy Carlucci will discuss reasons for using vegetables in desserts and pastries, as well as the possibilities of the trend in the future. She’ll go beyond the carrot cake and look at food trends while also looking back at recipes from the past and from various cultures.


Chef Nina Curtis will give a talk on Plant-Forward Cuisine on Wednesday. With plant-based ingredients being named in the National Restaurant as the number one culinary trend for 2019, this session is not to be missed.

Reason #58: See the famous I-4 eyesore in person.

Also called the Majesty Building, it certainly is… majestic. It’s the third most recognizable Orlando landmark, after the Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom and Hogwarts at Universal Studios.

Reason #8: You could meet some CMCs.

ACF Certified Master Chefs (the real celebrity chefs) Olivier Andrieni, Russell Scott, Helmut Holzer, Jason Hall and probably more will be on hand during the event — giving talks, speaking on panels and generally hanging out.


Chef Richard Farina leads a Monday talk about immersive dining, in which attendees will learn how to take food beyond the plate, incorporating all of the senses to create a dining experience unlike any other. Learn to be creative with plating dishes using sight, scent, sound, touch and taste to make the dishes come alive and creating a sense of environment. Projection domes, scent cannons, edible paper, fire, liquid nitrogen, dry ice and many more presentation techniques to make the meal unforgettable. What is a scent cannon? You’ll have to come and find out!

Reason #45: Do you know anything about wine pairings? If not, time to learn!

Certified Sommelier Peter Rod and Craig Youdale, dean of The Canadian Food and Wine Institute, will help attendees discover the science and mystery behind pairing their signature dishes with the right wine. Explore the cause and effect rules of pairing, while understanding the science that brings that pairing together to send your food and wine choices to a new level of excellence at your business or restaurant.

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