ACF Young Chefs Club President Isaiah Gerrard on Life as a Culinary Student

ACF Student Chef Isaiah Gerrard has been the president of the ACF Young Chefs Club since August 2022 and during his time at the helm, he has planned interesting events for members, including the “ACF ChefsForum ‘Culinary Entrepreneurship and Food Business’” webinar. We caught up with Chef Gerrard to find out how he’s enjoyed his tenure as president.

Q: How did you get involved with the ACF?

Isaiah Gerrard PhotoA: I was working at a country club in Houston and one of the chefs I worked for had an ACF logo on her chef coat. I asked about it and she gave me some information. Then I dove a little bit deeper into it. My externship was in Las Vegas, and I saw that the ACF conference was coming up, so I decided to attend. I made so many great connections there; it was amazing. All of the connections I made led to this position I’m in now.

Q: What have you been doing with the Young Chefs Club since becoming president?

A: I try to do something every month, so for example, the last webinar was the second one we did. The other one was on networking, making connections, and mentorship. We had ACF President Kimberly Brock Brown (CEPC, CCA, AAC) as a part of the webinar and Wolfgang Puck made a video for it. A variety of different panelists gave their opinion on what mentorship means to them, why it’s so important, especially in this industry, and how it can take you to the next level. I like to do a webinar or a competition every month, so our first competition was with the ingredient of the month, which was kiwi. We had some young chefs submit a dish they made with kiwi, and then the winner got signed copies of cookbooks.

Another thing I did was take them through my day in the life as a culinary student. Then after that, I took them to the farmer’s market, got some food there, and cooked a dish with what I got. So that was kind of a day in the life here in California. Another thing we did was we started a Young Chef’s group for Chef’s Table, where all the young chefs can communicate with each other.

Q: Have you faced any challenges as president?

A: I would say definitely getting out of my comfort zone and doing the webinars has been challenging. Public speaking is out of my comfort zone a little bit. But I think it’s definitely important to grow and to challenge yourself, especially in this industry. I think that has been one of the most challenging things so far.

Q: What would you say you enjoy most about your role as president?

A: Everything. Honestly, it’s an amazing position to be in. I love that I’m able to inspire others. And I’ve had many friends, many people even on Instagram, message me and say, “Thank you for doing this.” I think one of the biggest benefits is I’m able to inspire people and I have the platform to do so.

Watch the recent webinar hosted by the Young Chefs Club on ACF’s YouTube page. Click here for a full list of the ACF ChefsForum webinars.