Chef Conventions

Written by Shirley Parker
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Chef Conventions come in national and regional sizes, sometimes even local sizes. You may be surrounded by huge numbers of culinary minds or be in a cozy hands-on workshop situation with a few dozen of your peers. If this is a first convention, you may be more at ease with a smaller crowd. But if you're remote from professional support, the sheer excitement of listening to other people who understand what you're doing will carry you past the fright and hubbub of a large convention.

If you've never attended any kind of convention, know ahead of time that the decibel level is intense, especially when professionals start sharing disagreements over techniques. Usually, when there is a speaker at a podium, decorum returns, partly because people put themselves in the expert's shoes and would wish for courtesy themselves. Now, if they would just turn off their cell phones!

National chef conventions will have at least one keynote speaker, someone who is nationally recognized for his or her expertise in the culinary field. In addition, if a regional convention is held near the home of a nationally recognized expert, he or she may agree to be the keynote speaker there also. Additional speakers will speak on specific topics, such as expanding a business, or maintaining your energy level, or recipes that can easily be adapted to suit various ethnic tastes.

What Else Do Chef Conventions Offer to Attendees?

Chefs will learn about new products on the market, and new resources to simplify their lives, or so the manufacturers' brochures say. Sometimes a panel will discuss their own careers and answer questions from beginners. New regulations will always be on the agenda, so that members of the particular association, in particular, are in the know. Often, training and testing for exams, such as certification or ServSafe are offered at chef conventions.

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