Christian Chefs International Conference is held once a year, this being its fifth year and also the first time I was able to attend. This year was exceptionally special because: (in no particular order)
- I was supported by my employers, Valley Fellowship Christian Academy
- Gary, long-time friend, co-worker (Mercy Ships), and Boss (Exclusively Yours Catering, Mercy Ships) was coming for the first time also...great time to share memories, stories, and catch up with family, work, and life...
- Getting to personally meet many fellow Chefs and food-service people that I only knew through social media.
- Catching up with Ira Krizo (Board of Directors President & Founder of Christian Chefs International and Director/President/Dean of Education/Chef-Instructor overseeing the Christian Culinary Academy)
- It was on the beach! (Cannon Beach Conference Center Oregon)
- Another Mercy Ships Alumni born in Thailand, raised in Australia, but residing in Portland Oregon with his wife (Thanks Tim and Karin) picked me up at 12:30am on a Monday morning, let me get some zzz's on the couch, then gave me a ride from Portland to Cannon Beach later that same morning so I could be on time! Its great having friends all over the world!
The hands-on baking/pastry seminar was a great way to teach this 'old dog' a few new tricks and brush the dust off some I haven't used in awhile. The speakers and session line-up was excellent! And how could you not like being directly on the beach?
The conference was opened by Chef Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet), and the list goes on...Ice Carving, Sustainable Seafood, Sushi Demo & Tasting, Hog Breakdown Demo, Cooking In The Deep South, multiple breakfast and lunches hosted by chefs, devotionals w/worship woven in between...
One of the things that really stood out to me was Chef Felix who traveled from Indonesia to be with us...the lunch he hosted was extraordinary! And of course I loved the lunch by Chef Bob (from Alabama) Shrimp & Grits (w/andouille sausage) and then, Buttermilk Chess Pie!
After the conference a ServSafe testing was available for Food Protection Manager Certification which was right on time since my certification expired this month. Passed! Good for another 5 years...and since I took the instructors test I am now able to teach and proctor the test if I want. (well, after I complete some paperwork and a few more tutorials, ha!) Alabama and Texas are alike in the fact that you have to have one person on-sight with a current Food Safety/Protection Manager Certificate or the State Health Department can shut your establishment down.
To much to really cover in a single blog post, but it was an excellent time! Gary and I really got to hang out during the whole conference and that was a blessing...its been a long time, we work well together in the kitchen, catering, life...
If this is your background: cook, chef, kitchen *title*...or even an interest, you should think about making it next year!