Why You Should Attend ChefConnect: Chicago

The American Culinary Federation’s Central and Western regional ChefConnect: Chicago is Feb. 5-7 at the Hilton Chicago. At ChefConnect: Chicago, you’ll build relationships with other professionals in your area while engaging in educational functions. These events offer professional development opportunities through informative business seminars, forums, cutting-edge demonstrations, hands-on workshops and networking.

Chefs from all fields including pastry, restaurants, research, corporate, education and more gather with their peers and suppliers at our regional conferences and national convention. ACF events are open to ACF members at a discounted rate. Non-members are invited to attend as well. Most of these functions are applicable towards continuing education hours.

Make 2017 your best year yet professionally! See the full schedule and register today to reserve your spot.


Keynote Speakers


Embracing Diversity The Key To Success
Chef Costa Magoulas, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC will open  ChefConnect: Chicago to present on how our nation’s work force is growing as more women, racial and ethnic minorities, gays and transgender individuals are contributing to the success of our businesses. The hospitality industry is one of the most diverse in the country and the key to future success in our industry is to learn the dynamics of our workforce and embrace diversity.

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Sweet Home Chicago!
Pastry Chef Casey Shiller, CEPC, CCE, AAC traces his professional journey from and back to St. Louis, with stops through Providence, Atlantic City, Westchester, Amelia Island and Chicago. See how mentors helped shape his food inspirations, now being taught to the next generation of pastry professionals. This two-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and 2012 ACF National Chef Educator of the Year embodies how passion and creativity play a critical role in creating sweet rewards in life, and on the menu.


Lead Like a Chef
Chefs and kitchens have gotten a bad rap over the years for being loud-mouthed, inappropriate and condescending to their employees. Now the tides have turned and the best kitchens in the world are actually the perfect display of teamwork that is led by impeccable leadership. Chef Christopher Hill will teach you how to lead like a chef, sharing  his secrets, strategies and stories of what makes truly great leadership–in the kitchen or otherwise.

ChefConnect: Chicago Hands-on Workshops at Kendall College

Hands-on workshops at ChefConnect: Chicago will take place at Kendall College. These workshops provide a small classroom setting to learn the newest techniques and skills while earning 3.00 CEHs. These workshops are optional and require separate registration and fees when registering.

Modern Confections With a Savory Twist
Engage in creating confections using uncommon ingredients such as vegetables, peppercorns and African spices translated through the mediums of chocolate, caramel and nougat. You will explore the value-added benefit of juxtaposing savory components with sweet to enhance both flavor and interest.
Presented by: Erika Webb, CEPC, pastry chef instructor, Kendall College

Temperature is Everything! Using “Sous Vide” and C-Vap Techniques in a Modern Kitchen
Learn about two techniques of cooking and holding to control the doneness of protein through the use of precise temperature settings. Safe cooking temperature zone, coagulation of protein and retention of moisture for better yield are studied.
Presented by: Michel Coatrieux, chef instructor, Kendall College

Midwest Regional Barbecue: Authentic Barbecue from Kansas City, St Louis, Memphis, and Chicago
Create authentic Midwestern barbecue with rubs and sauces and use simple butchering techniques to create the classic flavor profiles known to this distinct region. This workshop explores the history of Midwestern barbecue and identifies the different smoking techniques used to create this distinctive barbecue style.
Presented by: Thomas Meyer, chef instructor, Kendall College

Going with the Grain
One of the most exciting aspects of the rising demand for gluten-free baked goods is that vintage and heirloom grains are being newly discovered, leading to greater biodiversity. In this workshop, you will learn the unique baking qualities of teff, buckwheat, rice, soy and corn flour, among others. Highly nutritious breads, crackers, breads and snacks will be made in this class and formulas provided.
Presented by: Heidi Hedeker, pastry chef instructor, Kendall College


The Pathway to Certification

Interactive Panel Discussion with Chef Jeremy Abbey, CEC, CEPC, CCE, CCA, Director of Certification, American Culinary Federation


Gain an inside look at what it takes to earn ACF certification. Join Jeremy Abbey, ACF’s Director of Certification and “culinary Olympics” competitor, as he leads a panel discussion with members of the Certification Commission and other certified ACF members. Topics  include how certification has advanced their careers, strategies to successfully earn certification and more. The session also includes a guided question and answer session to address questions regarding the pathway to certification.


Get Certification Pre-approval on the Spot

Stop by during MarketConnect I, II and III at ChefConnect: Chicago. Bring your supporting documents to the ACF Certification booth and have your Step 1 application reviewed on the spot! A member of the Certification team will be on site to answer your questions.

Supporting documents include:

  • Copy of your diploma or GED
  • Transcripts and/or certificates showing you completed the required hours of education and the mandatory 30-hour classes in each Nutrition, Safety and Sanitation, and Supervisory Management
  • Employer verification of your work experience valid for the level of certification you are applying for

ACF Career Fair

Bring your resume to ChefConnect: Chicago Career Fair where you can meet employers from Aramark, Big Cedar Lodge, Gate Gourmet, Rivers Casino, Sodexo and more who are actively recruiting ACF-certified chefs. The Career Fair will be open all day. Industry recruiters will be on-site to meet you and discuss all levels of culinary/pastry positions available. Take this valuable time to network and explore your exciting new career opportunities.


If you can’t make it to ChefConnect: Chicago then come to ChefConnect: NYC, Feb. 26-28, at the New York Hilton Midtown. Click below for more details!