Nearly 200 college and university chefs descended on the University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus on June 14-19 to attend the World Chef Culinary Conference that has become a widely anticipated event each year in higher education foodservice.
Beginning with a series of local farm tours, moving on to three mornings of culinary lectures from leading chefs, cookbook authors, industry editors and suppliers and focusing on nine team-oriented intensive culinary workshops, the conference concluded with an ACF-sanctioned culinary competition and awards presentation.
With ”World Street Food — Local Flavor” as its theme, participants had plenty of opportunity to experiment with the practical aspects of producing globally themed recipes with an eye to real life university production practicality. The activities took place in the school's recently remodeled campus center and new Berkshire Commons dining hall, which provided a highly flexible series of station venues for both the lecturing guest chefs and the workshop teams.
Chefs Joyce Goldstein, Chai Siriyarn, John Ash, Jet Tila, Mai Pham, Roberto Santibanez, Hiroku Shimbo Mark Miller, Martin Yan and Suvir Saran were among many other presenters. Cuisines ranged across the continents, from Asia to South and Central America.
“Our higher education customers continue to demand healthy options and a variety of food, while supporting sustainability,” says Ken Toong, executive director of the school's foodservice department and chair of the conference. “Our conference provides a forum for us as culinarians and operators to help us satisfy these expectations and to leverage the wonderful tastes of global and regional cuisine while doing so.”
Two culinary teams — one from Northern Michigan University and one from Delaware North Co. — qualified for ACF Gold Medals in the UMass Chef Conference Competition. For a list of other winning teams and their members, go to www.umassdining.com/umass-dining/other-pages/chef-conference-09/#idCResults