Jerry Schreck, National Conference Coordinator and Executive Chef of Merion (Pa.) Golf Club shares his thoughts on the host city for the 2018 Chef to Chef Conference.
I am writing this as I fly back from my site visit for the 10th Annual Chef to Chef Conference, which is going to be held March 4-6, 2018. It is going to be spectacular; Seattle is such a great city for chefs and Northwest cuisine, in my opinion, is the best in the U.S., and my clear personal favorite.
The Westin Hotel in Seattle’s downtown area, which will be “Conference Central,” is in close proximity to many attractions, for those who will be coming early to the Conference and/or staying later. The Pike Place Market (where they throw the fish), the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is) and ferries to the outer islands (for a true Northwest getaway) are all within easy, 15-minute walks or a short Uber or Monorail ride away.
After nine conferences, I’ve come to know that the chefs who attend are the ultimate “Foodies” who will make sure to scout out their bucket-list restaurants they’ll want to be sure to hit around the Conference activities (remember, Monday night is kept free for you to go out with your friends and colleagues and experience the local dining scene on your own). If you do need suggestions for great places to go, we will have a customized dining guide in your Conference binders and also on our Chef to Chef Conference website, complete with “inside” suggestions from two great chefs who will be helping me with the Conference—Local Coordinator Eric Floyd, from the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, and Jon Maley from Canterwood G&CC in Gig Harbor, Wash. (many of you may remember Jon’s great presentation at our 2015 Conference in Savannah, Ga.).
For some of my personal favorites, try Lark, a first-of-its-kind, farm-to-table concept in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Capitol Hill is also where you’ll find the Canon Bitters and Whiskey Emporium, one of the most innovative cocktail and whisky bars in the country. Downtown, there’s Cloudburst, a renowned microbrewery where seasonal IPAs change weekly; it has received some rave reviews and was great to check out.
Of course, if you’re a coffee connoisseur, Seattle is mecca, and you’ll have to go to the Starbucks Reserve Roasting and Tasting Room, also in Capitol Hill. This is an easy walk from the Westin that will give you an experience to remember.
As for the Conference itself, we have a really talented group of chefs on the agenda, with a record eight cooking demonstrations set for this year, including several by Certified Master Chefs. Session topics will include wine and food pairings, a demo and lecture on the “plant-forward” approach to healthy and sustainable cooking, and training and motivation.
Like every year, you will have so much to take away and be eager to apply at your club back home. But the best and most valuable part of Chef to Chef is the building of professional relationships while at the Conference, as you can spend time with those who face the same day-to-day challenges we all have in our jobs.
See you out there!