Demonstration sessions on Cajun and contemporary cuisine, buffet and catering enhancements and chef’s tables highlight full schedule of topics for Conference that will be held in New Orleans, March 4-6.
The complete lineup of topics and speakers has been finalized for Club and Resort Business’ 2012 Chef to Chef Conference, which will be held at the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans, March 4-6.
The Conference will be kicked off by a keynote address on “How Culinary Schools Are Preparing Tomorrow’s Chefs,” which will be delivered at the opening dinner on Sunday, March 4, by Mark Allison, Dean of Culinary Education for the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, N.C. (see Johnson & Wales’ Dean of Culinary Education to Deliver Keynote Address at 2012 Chef to Chef Conference).
The Conference will then resume on Monday, March 5, with these presentations:
• Cajun/Regional Cuisine, presented by Colt Patin, CEC, Chef Instructor, Louisiana Culinary Institute. In this demonstration session, Chef Patin—named one of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine’s Top Five Chefs to Watch for 2011—will welcome Chef to Chef Conference attendees to his native state with a rousing demonstration of regional specialties, including stuffing a four-foot whole alligator with a chicken-and-gator sausage. Patin, who has cooked for Anthony Bourdain, the cast and crew of A&E’s “Swamp People,” and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, will also prepare other traditional recipes that club chefs will be able to take back to their own corners of the country, to help meet their dining clientele’s ever-growing demand for Cajun-flavored excitement.
• Contemporary Cuisine, presented by James Corwell, CMC, Executive Chef, Pacific Union Club, San Francisco. Even the most exclusive clubs must respond to the swelling demand for more contemporary menu selections that are more in step with today’s tastes and presentation preferences. In this demonstration session, Chef Corwell will demonstrate preparation of proven new favorites he’s developed for the membership of the storied Pacific Union Club, located at the top of San Francisco’s Nob Hill, across the street from the Fairmont Hotel.
• Kids’ Meals/Menus, presented by Jason Friendy, Executive Chef, Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, Calif. What to offer to members’ and guests’ children can no longer be an afterthought for any well-rounded food-and-beverage program—and menu items for that age group can no longer be limited to just “the usual suspects” like chicken fingers and hot dogs, either. This session will give Conference attendees an abundance of ideas for how to make kids want to eat at the club—and how to keep their parents happy that they’re doing so, by providing healthier options that can open kids’ eyes to all that can be found in the wonderful world of food.
• Bar/Casual Dining, presented by Sean Sennet, Executive Chef, River Hills CC, Lake Wylie, S.C. Bars and casual dining rooms have taken on new lives of their own in many club and resort venues, to the point where they often now stand out as the preferred dining destination of members and guests. New designs have created Inviting social atmospheres in these areas—but if the food and drinks made available in them don’t also excite the senses, no one will come, or stay, no matter how comfortable the surroundings. In this session, the Executive Chef of an up-and-coming club that added nearly 200 members in the past year, largely through the distinctive draw of its food-and-beverage program, will share tips for creating tempting specialties that can make any club’s bar or grill room a go-to spot.
• Dealing with House Committees/Boards, presented by Bert Morales, Director of Operations, West Lake CC, Augusta, Ga. Having to deal with House Committees and Boards (or, in the case of non-private properties, owners or other “meddlesome” forces) always ranks high on club chefs’ lists of the most annoying and frustrating aspects of their jobs. But it’s a reality of the business that can’t be ignored—and fighting it rarely leads to good outcomes. In this session, a manager who has had great success turning around his club’s F&B business will share his thoughts on how chefs can not only learn to tolerate, but actually work effectively with, the ever-changing mix of outside “experts” who constantly want to critique and change their culinary approach. Insights on how chefs can effectively partner with others on the management team to pick, fight and win the right battles will also be provided.
• “Chef to Chef” Live. Monday afternoon of the Conference will be devoted to a “live” version of Club & Resort Business’ popular “Chef to Chef” feature, during which Jerry Schreck, Executive Chef of Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa., will lead an audience discussion of key topics affecting all aspects of culinary quality and performance in club and resort settings.
Monday will conclude with an evening reception with cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres, during which attendees will be able to participate in “Mystery Basket” and “Culinary Quiz” competitions that will be new features of this year’s Conference. Monday night will then be kept free, so attendees can experience dinner at a place of their choosing in restaurant-rich New Orleans.
On Tuesday, March 6, the Chef to Chef Conference will resume with these sessions:
• Buffet/Catering Enhancements, presented by Vincent Horville, Executive Chef, The Metropolitan Club of Washington (D.C.). Vincent Horville, who wowed attendees with spectacular demonstrations at the 2010 Chef to Chef Conference, will be back by popular demand to show more ways to put “new twists on old favorites” and add flair, distinction and memorable flavor to even the most “routine” of buffet-line requirements. A variety of interesting new concept stations and small-bite elements that can enhance any catering package and do not entail excessively high costs of implementation will be shown.
• Chef’s Tables, presented by Wade Simpson, Executive Chef, Paradise Valley (Ariz.) CC. Chef’s tables have become standard offerings in most club and resort F&B programs, as one of the best ways to offer members and guests unique dining experiences, and at the same time giving them exclusive “inside looks” at what’s really special about the culinary talent and dishes available at the property. But while having a party of eight in the kitchen during dinner service can be nerve-racking for many chefs, Wade Simpson has become known as one of the most successful practitioners of the chef’s table concept, because he openly welcomes the challenge. For the past several years, “Dinner with Chef Wade” has sold out each month it’s been offered to the Paradise Valley CC membership, and in this session, Simpson will show why, by demonstrating signature dishes that he features at the events, sharing pictures of his “state of the art” in-kitchen set-up, and offering other tips for how to keep them coming
• Staff Mentoring/Training and Internships, presented by Tom Wallace, General Manager/COO, The Club at Mediterra, Naples, Fla. Club and resort properties with the finest facilities and the most accomplished chefs will still fail to meet their food-and-beverage goals, without proper and constant attention to the critical staff training and development issues that affect all aspects of an exemplary culinary operation, from food quality through service. In this session, a General Manager who became renowned for implementing an exemplary service organization at the storied Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, and is now doing the same at one of Florida’s finest clubs, will review the essentials of understanding the “teammate (staff) lifecycles” in an organization. Every successful GM/chef partnership is based on each understanding their responsibilities, as leaders, to help create, implement and sustain effective programs for recruitment, selection, staff orientation, training, retention, feedback and continuing education, for both the back and front of the house, at their properties.The session will also outline how every member of a team must contribution to creating and sustaining an effective organizational culture for culinary and service excellence.
• F&B Financials/Chef’s Compensation, presented by Bill Ochsenhirt, Vice President, Inverness Holdings LLC, Birmingham, Ala. The good news is that food-and-beverage revenues, and profits, are climbing at club and resort properties and becoming a more significant part of the industry’s overall business mix. But this means that any chef who wants to have a successful career in the club business can no longer avoid having a good working knowledge of financial basics as part of his or her required skill set. In this session, a club owner who actively manages multiple properties (and who is a CPA) will review the essentials of F&B financials that every chef should now know, and provide tips for how to best acquire and master this knowledge through on-the-job training and other forms of continuing education. The key financial considerations for both a la carte and catering operations will be outlined, Additionally, to help chefs who successfully apply financial knowledge to help increase the profitability of not only their own operation, but the property’s as a whole, this session will also discuss how well-performing chefs can best make their cases to management and ownership to be properly rewarded for those efforts, and provide ideas for working out effective incentive and compensation packages that all sides can live well with.
• Wine/Beer Pairings, presented by Jeffrey Strahl, Food & Beverage Director and Executive Chef, Glen Oaks CC, West Des Moines, Iowa. Increasingly, great food is now seen as only part of the equation for successful club and resort F&B programs. Theme nights built around wine, beer and spirits pairings are becoming regular entries on yearly event calendars, and chefs who aren’t on top of all that’s involved with properly matching their dishes with the right libations stand to miss out on more than just a bigger drink tab. In this session, a chef at a club that has seen F&B sales increase 40% and membership rise by nearly 100 over the past year will demonstrate how devoting proper attention to what’s also behind the bar while planning menus and creating new dishes can lead to ample payoffs.
• Modernist Cuisine/Molecular Gastronomy, presented by: Christopher R. Loss, Ph.D., A.O.S., Director, Department Menu Research and Development, The Culinary Institute of America Proper understanding of all of the physical and chemical transformations that take place during the cooking process can unlock a whole new world of flavor possibilities and taste sensations that can be offered to members and guests. But haphazard attempts to take advantage of what this new trend has to offer will just result in weird science that won’t satisfy anyone. In this session, one of the leading experts in this emerging field will separate the must-know from the mysterious and provide practical insights into how club chefs can bring the best of what’s to be gained from a “modernist” approach to their members’ tables.
The 2012 Chef to Chef Conference will then conclude with presentations of certificates to attendees, who can receive certification credits from the Club Managers Association of America and the American Culinary Federation for their participation.
Further details about the 2012 Chef to Chef Conference, and an online registration form, can be found at the Conference website, www.CheftoChefConference.com. An early-bird discount of 5% is available for registrations received and paid by December 31, 2011, and additional discounts are available for attendees of previous Chef to Chef Conferences, and for multiple registrations from the same club, resort or management company.
Registration for the 2012 Conference, for which total space is limited, has been running well ahead of the pace of previous years.