I attended the ACF Chef Connect conference in Chicago in February. I have attended many over the years and am always anxious to go for what I’ll learn and who I’ll meet. This year was no different but also provided me a nice surprise when I was honored to receive from our National President ,Tom Macrina CEC, CCA, AAC, The Cutting Edge Award.

This award is given at the discretion of the President in recognition of the recipient’s leadership and service to the culinary profession. I have earned medals for competitions and several other awards during my career, but this one was different… I worked hard for those awards, studied, planned and competed for them. But this one is for volunteering my time, mentoring others, teaching, serving on my local board and a national committee, etc. All of these things are my way of giving back to those who poured into my life and to be a part of the ACF who gave me a venue to do so and put me in contact with other like-minded people.

As I sat at the Awards Luncheon, I looked around the room full of chefs of all ages, eager students, and friends that I know and are so deserving of such an award. It was humbling that I would be singled out for such an honor while surrounded by these high caliber peers. It was early on in my tenure as an ACF member that I came to a turning point when I discovered that my thinking had changed from, “What can I receive from being apart of this organization” to thinking, “How can I give to back to others in hopes that I may help change things for them” as so many have done for me in this wonderful organization.

-Melody Money CEC AAC