ACF United: Stafford’s Fireside Chat 05/11/2020

Safer At Home

“If you remain calm in the midst of great chaos, it is the surest guarantee that it will eventually subside.”
-Julie Andrews

As this message reaches you, we will have been in quarantine for over five weeks in most parts of the world. I have been sending personal messages of inspiration to my ohana—my ACF family. I hope that they have helped.

What definitely gives me hope, though, is you. Chefs naturally respond well during times of crises, pitching in to work together to be a force of good. As the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the world and of our nation, causing the closures of schools, businesses, restaurants and other foodservice operations, it came as no surprise to me that many chefs—and so many ACF chefs, in particular—jumped to the front lines to feed healthcare workers, displaced hospitality workers, first responders, children out of school, senior citizens at high risk and many others in need.

The stories have been flooding in. That’s why the special COVID-19 issue of NCR, due to be released this week, is all about you: our members and the dedicated, impassioned chefs who make up the backbone of our industry. We have always been so proud of your hard work, but especially lately. We hope that reading about what some of your peers are doing will help you stay inspired, motivated, connected and informed during this tough time.

Depending on your situation, you might be working less and spending more time at home social distancing. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of educational opportunities to refresh, refocus and return even stronger than before when economies reopen. We launched the ACF United (#ACFUnited) campaign specifically to funnel more resources to our members during the ongoing pandemic. An important part of that campaign is continued learning in the form of free, weekly webinars and a free, online learning bundle that includes courses and recordings from past conferences. We also hope that some of the previously-scheduled, feel-good content in the current issue of NCR—as well as ongoing coverage on—will keep your minds active and creative juices flowing. Even if some commercial kitchens are closed, we need not ever stop cooking.

In April, we launched the Ferdinand Metz / American Culinary Federation (ACF) Relief Fund, to assist foodservice workers who find themselves in financial hardship due to the pandemic. Applications for assistance can be found on If you are in a position where you can assist those less fortunate, please donate what you can to the fund.

During this time, might I encourage you to seek solace in the things that bring you comfort and hope, whether that’s continued cooking and/or spending more time with your family, reading books, dancing, listening to music, indulging in hobbies and more. Find your center, look to the future, connect with us and others, and we will get through this—united and together as one.

Be Safe, Stay Strong & Stay Healthy!

Always “Remember to Live, Love & Share Aloha!”


Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
National President
American Culinary Federation