VERONA, N.Y. — The American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) 2013 Northeast Regional Conference is underway in Verona, N.Y.
Themed “Experience the Power of Connection” more than 400 chefs, students and foodservice professionals are registered for the culinary event, which offers workshops, a tradeshow, culinary competitions and other activities, including educational programming leading to certification as well as networking opportunities.
Only a handful of Canadians are participating in this year’s event, down from the 50-plus who attended last year’s meeting in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Those who are attending are taking active roles in the program, including chef David Hunt sharing his expertise on maple syrup, chef Samuel Glass serving as a Knowledge Bowl judge and chef David Jones who led a team of five students to the ACE event. The team, who hail from Barrie, Ont’s Muskoka and District Chef’s Association Junior Chapter, will compete against eight junior teams from the ACF Northeastern Region. Meanwhile, Pickering, Ont.’s Canada Cutlery Inc., a frequent ACF event sponsor, is one of 33 show exhibitors.
Hunt, a Canadian presenter and executive chef of Generations Restaurant in Lake Placid, N.Y., spoke at the conference about “Using Pure Maple in Your Restaurant,” describing it as “the ultimate local cuisine, available all year round.” He said: “Maple syrup offers a unique sweetness available in dozens of intensities, depending on how the sap is boiled and always has a ‘wildness’ that is distinctive and satisfying.” And, the chef has a connection to the liquid gold he enjoyed while growing up on Quebec’s South Shore. “My passion for the product goes back to my childhood excitement of the ‘caban a sucre’ (sugaring shack) where the sap becomes syrup, and that magic still continues every spring for young and old alike.”
Generations Restaurant features maple ingredients year-round in maple sap, syrup, sugar and cream forms. The product is produced from some 5,000 local maple trees that are linked by clear tubing or feature traditional buckets to catch drips from spouts drilled through the bark. The Generations menu features “Maple Steel Oats,” which are described as “simmered to perfection in fresh maple sap from our local forest and topped with maple syrup and fresh berries.” Hunt commented that although the spring ‘sugaring’ period is usually a slow shoulder season for most restaurants, that’s not so in the sugar-bush country where restaurants, hotels and retailers welcome many visitors interested in the making of maple syrup.
Meanwhile, on the tradeshow floor, Michael Ty, ACF national president, reflected on May’s 2013 ACF National Election while commenting to Foodservice and Hospitality magazine. “As my time in office comes to an end, I feel that ACF has accomplished a great deal, most of what I had wanted to do. Now, as I will soon be past-president, I can continue to help implement all that we have started. “
The conference runs until Wednesday, March 20.