Certified German Master Chef Rainer Hienerwadel leads a critique of the practice production by chef teams preparing for Friday’s ACF sanctioned national competition.
Chef Jaques Pépin spoke to attendees about his early apprenticeships and later life in the kitchen while demonstrating some favorite techniques.
Above: Chef John Ash discussing basic flavor profiles and how to make sauces more healthful; Bon Appetit’s Mark Zammit reviews the use of sustainable seafood; Kikkoman’s Debbie Carpenter on research into the nature of umami, the “fifth taste;” Chef Segundo Torres provides an overview of foods from China and Japan; Chartwell’s President Steven Sweeney explores healthful dining challenges in the education market.
Morning production workshops prepared chefs for the Friday ACF Competition.
Top to bottom: Johnson & Wales instructor Chef Frank Terranova, C.E.C., C.C.E., offers culinary workshop advice. J&W Chef Richard DeMaria demonstrates dough technique to college chefs in the Pastry Workshop. A chef provides final garnish before a production assignment is served for lunch.
For the working culinary cognoscenti in the college and university market, there’s no conference quite like the Annual Tastes of the World Chef’s Culinary Conference held each year at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A brainchild of UMass Director of Dining and Retail Foodservices Ken Toong, the gathering has gained momentum and sophistication over the 12 years of its existence. Today it figures as a unique event attracting some of the best college culinary talent in the country and offering a content mix that is unmatched for this very demanding audience.
From the latest research into the dietary impact of Omega-3 oils to the personal culinary techniques of chefs like Jaques Pepin, John Ash and Ana Sortun; from the hands-on baking and production workshops managed by top chefs from Johnson & Wales University to the ACFsanctioned culinary competition that capped this year’s five-day event, attendees were kept focused and engaged from morning to night.
This year’s theme—“Healthy Food and Flavor”—provided a useful focus for the recipes and culinary demonstrations offered by speakers. The sessions were operationally practical as well as culinarily interesting. Chartwells President Steve Sweeney offered a pragmatic view of the significant business challenges—and social responsibility challenges—facing those whose goal is to upgrade the healthfulness of menus and eating habits for those in the educational sessions. And chefs like John Ash, Deborah Madison, Ana Sortun and Segundo Torres provided hands-on advice for making food more healthful and more flavorful in order to satisfy those needs.
For those interested in food merchandising and promotion, Canadian fresh produce entrepreneur Pete Luckett shared the philosophy that has made his Pete’s Frootique fresh markets renowned throughout Canada. And a design panel featuring Envision Strategies’ Claudia Scotty, Mesher-Shing’s Bob Mesher and chefs Jean Michel Boulot and Eric Leonard explored the relationship between food, ambience and production flow at the award-winning University of Washington foodservice operations.
Far from a “sit-down” event, attendees spent many hours in the UMass kitchens in production workshops to prepare for the ACF competition on Friday (see photos).
Toong gives his own department staff, consultant Paul Fairbrook and Johnson & Wales Director of Culinary Events Valeria Molinelli much of the credit for organizing the conference events and curricula and to Johnson & Wales Certified German Master Chef Rainer Hienerwadel and Instructor Chef Frank Terranova for their contributions in overseeing the production workshops and competitions.
To learn more about the program, go to www.umass.edu/chefconference
And The Gold Goes To...
For the first time in the World Chef Culinary Conference’s history, all competing chef teams received medal standing in the ACF-sanctioned team competition.
There were two top gold medal-winning teams (scoring 36-40 points).
Team 9, with University of North Texas Chef Joe Rosenthal and Washington University/Bon ppetit Chefs Dan Connif and Marc Foley and Clark University/Bon Appetit Chef James LaChance, took home a gold medal for their Mushroom Encrusted Red Snapper with Emulsified Walnut Chive Vinaigrette, Seasonal Fruit Salad and Roasted Chicken Pistachio.
Team 2, with University of Western Ontario Chefs Kurt Leumann, Carrie Schnurr and Tom Lashbrook, and University of British Columbia Chef Piyush Sahay also took a gold medal with their Pan Grilled Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Yogurt, Panner Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Yellow Pepper Coulis & Seasonal Vegetables and Apple and Fig Tatin with Rose Infused Cream and Fresh Fruits.
PHOTOGRAPHY: JOHN LAWN