Club + Resort Chef has officially announced the full agenda and speakers for the 2024 Chef to Chef Conference, which will be held at the Austin Marriott Downtown from March 3-5, 2024. The 2024 agenda focuses on professional development and culinary innovation and aims to provide attendees with valuable insights, practical strategies, and inspiration to excel as chefs and managers.
The 2024 agenda includes six live culinary demonstrations and education sessions by many of the industry’s best and brightest chefs and managers.
The Chef to Chef Conference agenda will begin on March 3rd with pre-conference sessions, a keynote address and a kickoff party. Details on the keynote address and opening event will be released in the coming weeks.
Monday, March 4th, will include the following sessions:
Effective Communication and Self-Advocacy
Presented by Michael Matarazzo, CEC, Executive Chef, Farmington Country Club
Chef Michael Matarazzo’s presentation will emphasize the importance of clear and empathetic communication, distinguishing between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Matarazzo will provide practical strategies for overcoming communication barriers and resolving conflicts constructively. He will also stress the significance of nonverbal communication and building rapport. Attendees will gain valuable tools to enhance their interpersonal skills and confidently navigate various professional situations.
Employee Meal Programs: The River Oaks Recipe for a Happier, More Productive Team
Presented by Charles M. Carroll, CEC, AAC, Executive Chef, River Oaks Country Club
The employee meal program at River Oaks CC is nothing short of inspiring. It demonstrates how a well-executed program can enhance employee satisfaction and productivity, benefiting a club’s overall success. In this session, Chef Carroll will discuss the significance and importance of nurturing a positive workplace culture through thoughtfully crafted meal programs and break spaces. He will illustrate how these initiatives have enhanced employee morale and productivity. He will also offer actionable strategies for designing a program that caters to diverse dietary preferences and needs, guaranteeing inclusivity within the organization. River Oaks CC’s comprehensive approach will leave the audience inspired to implement effective employee meal programs within their own clubs.
Revolutioning Member Engagement Through Social Media (+ Demo)
Presented by Michael Ponzio, Executive Chef, Park Ridge Country Club
Chef Michael Ponzio will discuss how the interaction and communication between club chefs and members have evolved, focusing on the power of social media and content development. He will share how he uses short cooking videos to engage members, share culinary expertise, and foster a sense of community. He will emphasize that this digital approach has benefited the club and created opportunities for personal growth and collaboration, ultimately enhancing the culinary experience for all parties involved.
The Decline of Member Etiquette: How to Address Bad Behavior
Presented by Scott Craig, CEC, CCA, WCMC, Executive Chef, Cullasaja Club
In this session, Chef Scott Craig will discuss the need for open and respectful communication between managers and members. He will stress the importance of establishing clear behavior guidelines and training staff to handle difficult situations professionally. Attendees will learn how crucial these elements are in maintaining a positive club atmosphere while ensuring a culinary program has the support to operate smoothly.
Hydrocolloids Made Simple (+ Demo)
Presented by April Johnson, Bocuse d’Or Team USA 2023 Team Assistant
Understanding hydrocolloid science in cooking is essential for unlocking culinary innovation through enhanced textures and presentation. In this session, Chef Johnson will illustrate how accessible hydrocolloids are to use while demonstrating practical applications for everyday use by club chefs. Her demonstration will feature well-known hydrocolloids like agar-agar and xanthan gum and less commonly used ones like kappa and iota carrageenans, ultra-tex, and ultra-sperse. With the latest research and valuable insights, Chef Johnson’s presentation is poised to inspire club chefs to experiment and elevate their culinary creations.
The Art and Science of Charcuterie (+ Demo)
Presented by Jeremy Leinen, CEC, Executive Chef, The Country Club of Rochester
In this session, Chef Leinen will discuss the art of sausage making and charcuterie craftsmanship. He will share best practices for selecting ingredients, recipes, innovation, and balancing traditions and trends. He will showcase simple ways to implement a charcuterie program in a club operation and how to use the program to drive team development and engage members.
Tuesday, March 5th, will include the following sessions:
Building a Pastry Program from Scratch
Presented by Vanessa Tristan, CEPC, Executive Pastry Chef, The Club at Carlton Woods and
Wes Tyler, CEC, CCA, WCMC, CCCD, Executive Chef, The Club at Carlton Woods
Following Pastry Chef Mellisa Root’s captivating presentation at the 2023 Chef to Chef Conference, highlighting the significance of in-house pastry production, The Club at Carlton Woods will share an equally inspiring narrative brimming with actionable insights for clubs considering this endeavor.
Vanessa Tristan, CEPC, was originally hired as a pantry cook fresh out of culinary school. Her passion for baking and pastry was evident from the outset, prompting the club to invest in her culinary education by sending her back to school to earn her degree. Upon graduation, Chef Tristan returned to the club and embarked on the ambitious journey of establishing a comprehensive baking and pastry program from the ground up. In this enlightening presentation, Chef Tristan and Executive Chef Wes Tyler will lead attendees through the meticulous steps she took, the obstacles she surmounted, and the impressive successes she has achieved thus far. Her story will serve as a wellspring of inspiration and a repository of practical ideas, offering valuable guidance to attendees interested in venturing into in-house pastry production.
Mentorship and Reverse Mentorship in Culinary Club Operations
Presented by Shannon Farmer, Executive Chef, Ansley Golf Club, and J. Kevin Walker, CMC, AAC, Former Executive Chef, Ansley Golf Club
Chefs Kevin Walker, CMC, and Shannon Farmer will explore the benefits of mentorship and reverse mentorship. They will discuss how mentorship can nurture culinary skills and facilitate knowledge transfer while reverse mentorship can keep tenured culinarians innovative and adaptable. Both approaches will be emphasized as tools for building a culture of learning, fostering collaboration, and developing future culinary leaders within the club.
The Art of Exclusion: Crafting Upscale, Creative and Delicious Gluten & Dairy-Free Dining Experiences (+ Demo)
Presented by Chloe Dykes, Executive Chef, Lexington Country Club
Club chefs are tasked with the challenge of staying at the forefront of culinary trends while accommodating the distinctive preferences of their members and guests. They must embrace new techniques to stay on the cutting edge of their craft. Club chefs must master the art of creating mouthwatering dishes that transcend dietary limitations, particularly those without gluten and dairy. In this session, Chef Chloe Dykes will demonstrate how to provide inclusive culinary experiences that prioritize delicious food over the ingredients being left out.
Mastering Transitions: From Chef to Assistant General Manager
Presented by Joseph M. Leonardi, CMC, Assistant General Manager, St. Andrew’s Country Club
This presentation will delve into the career transition of Joseph Leonardi, an ACF Certified Master Chef, who moved out of his role as Director of Culinary to become the Assistant General Manager of St. Andrews Country Club. The central theme of his presentation will focus on the shift from the back of the house to becoming a prominent, member-facing presence in the front of the house. Leonardi will discuss his decision to embrace new challenges in a leadership role and his ability to foster relationships and collaborate effectively with staff and members, ultimately showcasing his adaptability and dedication to enhancing the member experience at the club.
The Final Step: Plating and Garnishing (+ Demo)
Presented by Daniel Montano, CEC, Executive Chef, Forsyth Country Club
Executive Chef Daniel Montano will discuss and demo a variety of plating and garnishing techniques. He will emphasize the pivotal role presentation plays in elevating the dining experience for members and guests. He will highlight the importance of balancing flavors and aesthetics, using fresh, seasonal ingredients for vibrant dishes, and incorporating creative garnishing techniques. His presentation will demonstrate how thoughtful plating and artistic garnishing can transform a dish into a work of art that delights the palate and captivates the eye.
Medals, Mentorship, and Bocuse: Lessons from the Global Culinary Arena
Presented by Corey B. Siegel, Chef, 2-time Culinary World Cup Gold Medalist, 3-time Culinary Olympic gold medalist
Corey Siegel’s impressive culinary journey, from a devoted student to becoming the youngest ACF Culinary Team USA member in history, is adorned with over 15 medals from national and international competitions, including gold at the 2014 Culinary World Cup, a first-place finish at the 2015 American Culinary Classic, and three gold medals at the 2016 Culinary Olympics. During his presentation, Chef Siegel will share stories about significant moments that directly relate to important industry lessons. He’ll discuss the profound impact of mentorship, the importance of self-improvement, strategies for nurturing creativity, and the pivotal role of kindness within the culinary industry.
Craft Mixology: Exploring Cocktail Trends and Ingredients (+ Demo)
Presented by Patrice Hewski, Certified Sommelier, Beverage Manager, Commonwealth National Golf Club & Manor House
Patrice Hewski will delve into the artistry of mixology, highlighting the meticulous craftsmanship behind the beverage program at Commonwealth National Golf Club & Manor House. She will discuss the evolving landscape of cocktail culture, emphasizing the growing popularity of innovative ingredients and techniques. Attendees will gain a newfound appreciation for the creativity and skill that goes into crafting modern cocktails and a fresh perspective on the ever-changing trends shaping the world of libations.
Beyond Par: Preparing for a Tour Event
Presented by Nick Barrington, CEC, ACE, Executive Chef, East Lake Golf Club
Join Chef Nick Barrington, a seasoned club chef with over 30 PGA Tour Events under his belt, as he provides valuable insights into the intricate world of culinary operations during top-tier golf events. Drawing from his extensive experience, Chef Barrington will delve into the logistical challenges that culinary teams face and reveal the tried-and-true best practices required to execute a Tour-level event flawlessly. With a wealth of knowledge gained from his roles at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club & Lodge during the Arnold Palmer Invitational and East Lake Golf Club during THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP & FedEx Cup, Chef Barrington will share firsthand accounts of his experience with attendees. Attendees will better understand the specific expectations and standards professional golfers and Tour Partners set regarding culinary excellence.
Elevating Member Experiences: Creative Event Themes
Presented by Philippe Reynaud, Senior Director of Culinary, Ocean Reef Club
During this breakout session, Philippe Reynaud, Director of Culinary at Ocean Reef Club, will provide an overview of Ocean Reef Club’s commitment to delivering exceptional member experiences through creative events. Attendees will gain insight into the club’s innovative approach to event planning, its dedication to member satisfaction, and a sneak peek at upcoming creative events. Discover how Ocean Reef Club sets the standard for unforgettable member gatherings.
The Turnaround: Taking Your Culinary Operation From Good—or Not So Good—to Great
Presented by Tim Recher, C.E.C., AAC, MWMCS, CWX, Executive Chef, Frenchman’s Creek Beach and Country Club
Chef Tim Recher will discuss the significance of building a strong personal brand and its connection to organizational culture. Key points include seizing low-hanging opportunities, forging valuable alliances with supervisors and stakeholders, assembling a supportive team, and creating impactful first impressions. He will also explore the importance of embracing change, understanding market dynamics, balancing excellence with pragmatism, infusing enthusiasm into work, and leveraging the contagious nature of success to propel your career forward.
2024 Club + Resort Chef of the Year Culinary Competition
Presented by Club + Resort Chef
During an evening cocktail reception on Tuesday, March 5th, four club chef competitors will face off in a mystery basket-style culinary competition. Only one will take home the title of “Club + Resort Chef of the Year.” The competition will feature two exciting rounds, with audience votes and judging of each dish by a select team of taste-testers determining the winners.
The 2024 Chef to Chef Conference is projected to bring together more than 500 of the county’s top club chefs, food & beverage directors, and sponsors. View the full agenda at www.cheftochefconference.com/agenda
Space is limited. Reserve your spot early. Register before December 31st for the early-bird rate of $2,750, saving you $200 off full-price admission.
Register at www.cheftochefconference.com.