Keynotes Announced for the ACF National Convention

Get ready for the largest gathering of professional chefs and culinarians in the industry! The ACF National Convention will feature the ACF’s most talented and notable chefs alongside a roster of professional culinarians who are shaking up the industry. Join us in-person or virtually by livestream August 2-5, 2021, in Orlando, Florida!

>>Register to Attend<<

These keynotes are taking over the main stage and will inspire your thinking and ignite your passion.

Be Careful What You Wish For: Pandemic Pivots and Learning On The Job with Chef Carla Hall

Carla HallBorn in Nashville, TN, Chef Carla Hall grew up surrounded by soul food. She believes food connects us all, and she strives to communicate this through her work and her cooking. After an unusual career path, Carla realized her passion for food and trained as a professional chef before working in restaurant kitchens in and around the Washington, D.C., area.

At the ACF National Convention, this award-winning cookbook author and TV personality will share how she turned an unexpected challenge into an opportunity to produce her own cooking show and that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

Making a Difference Through Food & Hospitality with Chef Edward Leonard, CMC, AAC

Ed LeonardMaster Chef Edward Leonard will share his powerful message about culinary leadership. In this important session, Chef will explain which qualities all chefs must hone and how you can do it. When these skills are combined with innovation and commitment, it can ensure success even in challenging times.

Chef Leonard will share his insights, philosophy, and passion for our profession as he presents his demonstration that will focus on the need for ongoing innovation.

A Conversation with Chef Marcus Samuelsson: How the Industry will Quickly Recover and Thrive Post-COVID

Marcus SamuelssonMarcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide. He has won multiple James Beard Foundation awards for his work as a chef and a host of No Passport Required, his public television series with Vox/Eater. Samuelsson was crowned champion of Top Chef Masters and Chopped All-Stars and was the guest chef for President Obama’s first state dinner.

A committed philanthropist, Samuelsson is co-chair of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), which focuses on underserved youth. Author of several cookbooks, in addition to the New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef, Samuelsson also co-produces the annual Harlem EatUp! Festival, which celebrates the food, art, and culture of Harlem.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Samuelsson converted his restaurants Red Rooster Harlem, Marcus B&P in Newark, and Red Rooster Overtown in Miami into community kitchens in partnership with World Central Kitchen, serving over 230,000 meals to those in need. His newest cookbook, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, is out now.

Yes is the Answer, What is the Question? with Chef Cameron Mitchell

Cameron MitchellCameron Mitchell has the guts to look you in the eye, admit his mistakes, and share the lessons he has learned. An inspiration to entrepreneurs, chefs and restaurant professionals, he has experienced highs and lows during his journey: from fundraising for his first restaurant to coast-to-coast expansion, and his extraordinary sale of 22 restaurants for $92 million—after which he nearly lost everything, then rebuilt again.

Today, as CEO, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants still remains independent and privately held, collectively generates over $300 million in annual revenue and operates 57 restaurants from coast to coast. Join us to be inspired, and learn how company culture and values are key to Cameron Mitchell’s rags to riches story.

Creating Your Present with Chef Art Smith

Art SmithTraveling the world as a Chef Diplomat, Chef Art Smith believes that “fried chicken takes no sides.” The two-time James Beard Foundation award winner has led an exciting restaurant career, served heads of state, authored numerous cookbooks, and founded a non-profit that teaches children about different cultures through food and art.

Chef will share his inspirational message on success, overcoming adversity, and the importance of “Creating Your Present.”

>>See More Speakers<<

In addition to all the great programming and demos, culinary competitions will take place on-site for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Student Chef of the Year, Student Team of the Year, and more! Join the fun, sharpen your skills, and learn from the best chefs in the industry!

>>Register to Attend In-Person<<

>>Register for the Virtual Livestream<<