On Sunday, March 5th, the 2023 Chef to Chef Conference kicked off in Miami at the InterContinental hotel, with a cocktail reception and networking opportunities with event sponsors, including Arc Cardinal, Bard Valley Natural Delights, C&T Design and Equipment Co., Carpigiani, ClubProcure, Corby Hall, Cres Cor, Demkota Ranch Beef, DTG (Definitive Technology Group, LLC), Fortessa Tableware Solutions, LLC, Johnsonville, LLC, KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, Lifetime Brands Inc, Mikasa Hospitality Division, Aussie Beef & Lamb, Newchef Fashion Inc., Northstar, Porland, PreGel America, RAK Porcelain USA, Rational USA, R.L. Schreiber, Smithfield Culinary, The Montague Company, and Triar Seafood.
After the cocktail hour, Joanna DeChellis, Editor of Club + Resort Chef, welcomed attendees. Patrick O’Connell, Chef and Proprietor of The Inn at Little Washington, followed with his keynote address, sharing the colorful and unlikely story of a self-taught chef who turned liabilities into strengths. He offered his unique perspective on cuisine, service, and operations while inspiring attendees never to underestimate the power of good food.
Following O’Connell’s keynote, attendees headed to the InterContinental’s rooftop space for the #CheftoChef2023 Kickoff Party.
The #CheftoChef2023 Kickoff Party featured live Cuban music, a local Latin dance group, and plenty of local food and drinks.
In the first official session of the day, Elisha Cicerone, CCM, Certified Sommelier, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Charlotte City Club, and Cullasaja Club Executive Chef Scott Craig, WCMC, challenged chefs to look at pairings from a fresh perspective. They dove into the secrets and science behind what makes a perfect pairing and shared strategies for crafting deliberate and memorable menus that allow the food and drink to enhance the flavor of the other.
In the second session, Mellisa Root, Executive Pastry Chef of Farmington Country Club, made a case for clubs to consider hiring a skilled pastry chef to develop a dynamic and expansive pastry program catered to an operation’s unique needs.
Attendees then enjoyed a brief networking break.
Next, Executive Chef Andrew Haapala shared techniques and tricks he uses to provide the membership of The Country Club of Virginia with upscale banquet experiences.
In the next session, Keith Armstrong, CEC, Chief Operating Officer of Greenwich Country Club, and J. Kevin Walker, CMC, AAC, Former Executive Chef of Ansley Golf Club, discussed the importance of having the Executive Club Chef involved in club governance. They shared applicable techniques, tools, and skills to help chefs elevate their operations from an executive level.
In the next session, Scott Ryan, CEC, AAC Executive Chef of The Country Club demoed several of his standout dishes, showcasing how they are creative yet approachable, whimsical yet sophisticated, and inspiring and distinct.
In the first day’s final session, Michael Meuse Executive Chef of Sawgrass Country Club, and Perry Kenney, CCM, former Assistant General Manager of Sawgrass Country Club shared strategies for creating harmonious and synchronous relationships between front- and back-of-house staff.
On Tuesday, Andrea Mallon-Griffith, Executive Chef of Ocean Reef Residence Club, shared strategies for developing innovative plant-based and heart-healthy dishes made from real ingredients, like lentils, tofu, chickpeas, spirulina, microproteins and more.
In the next session, William Rogers, CEC, CCA, Executive Chef of Cosmos Club, discussed menu-writing around budgets.
After Rogers, Michael Shannon, CEC, Executive Chef of Somerset Club, and Geo Lanez, MBA, CEC, Executive Chef of The Patterson Club, led a session on using competition to motivate culinarians.
In the day’s final presentation, Joseph M. Leonardi, CMC, Director of Culinary Operations, The Country Club, shared his beekeeping story and tips, tricks, and facts about bees he’s learned over the years.