With the summer closing and schools back in session, I have had an opportunity to have attended the ACF National Convention in Orlando FL as a representative for the chapter at the Board of Governors meeting. The chapter presidents from all over the country attend and use this forum to voice concerns, share best practices and also vote on important issues, representing their prospective chapters.

Beyond the inspirational speakers at the General Session, I had the opportunity to attend amazing seminars. Baba Revisited, Umami Alchemy – The River connecting East-West Cuisine, Savory meets Sweet (Amazing!), The Smoking Gun- the next level, Spice up the fire with Wood Fired Techniques (very cool), Duck Press Demo (L’Ordre des Canardiers). The meals were excellent, hats off the Chef and his team at the Marriott World Center resort! Congratulations to our fellow member, Melody Money, CEC for having been inducted into the American Academy of Chef in Orlando at the annual AAC Dinner held at the prestigious Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The Convention was a great success, with over 1200 chefs in attendance from around the country. The competitions were amazing, as talented chefs competed for Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, and the Knowledge Bowl teams astounded onlookers. Amazing show pieces, and awards given for Chapter of the Year, Chef Professionalism and Presidential Medallions give to Chefs who excel in what they do to help the ACF and their communities. The trade show was filled with new, innovative products and equipment, the latest in trends being showcased and food samples including a huge variety of artisan cheeses, imported chocolates, exotic vegetables and innovative things like Balsamic Pearls. The hot item this year seemed to be “Sous-vide” machines and technique.

Overall a great experience and I highly recommend that members try to attend next years Western Regional Conference in Hawaii or the National Convention in Scottsdale.

Earlier in the summer, I had an opportunity to participate in a weekend motorcycle tour through Colorado with riders from the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association. The trip started at the Denver Sheraton West, along the Peak-to-Peak highway to Estes Park, where we enjoyed lunch at the historic Stanley Hotel. We then ventured over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park and stopped at the Grand Lake Lodge for a rest before proceeding on to our overnight destination in Glenwood Springs. After enjoying a great dinner at the Riviera Restaurant and relaxing in the hot springs pool, we left the next day and stopped in Aspen for cappuccino. We ventured over Independence pass to Twin Lakes and had a private lunch at the Twin Lakes Inn. Lucky to stay ahead of the rain, we proceeded on to our next evening destination through Buena Vista, Hartsel on Hwy 24 and turned off in Florissant to arrive in Cripple Creek for our overnight stay. A private Prime Rib & Crab dinner buffet at the Wildwood Casino was a blast and after having some fun in the Casino, got some much needed rest at the Kings Mountain Inn way up on the hill with an incredible view of the Sangre de Christo’s in the distance. The next day we went on through Woodland Park where I split off, bidding good tidings to my fellow riders as they headed down Hwy 67 back to Denver. My second year riding with this group known as the “Hotel Hogs”. (Included a Patch for my vest) What a blast and great to spend time with other industry people who share my passion for hospitality, telling stories about the crazy happenings in each of our prospective hotels. I look forward to next years ride!

Overall, a good year so far, with much more to come.

Respectfully, Peter Aiello, CEC CEPC