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In-depth classes and activities offer unique culinary learning opportunities!

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Developed with the help of the ICA Culinary Council, this delicious educational program will inspire your menus, teach chefs and kitchen staff new techniques, create new trends and improve your kitchen overall.

Plus, almost all sessions will let you sample high-quality recipes so you get a taste of these menu items for high-volume and culinary-focused kitchens. No need to pick and choose sessions, with the AOCF program, you'll get to attend ALL sessions listed below!

MONDAY, August 4

  Continental breakfast    
Blending the Science and the Art of Flavor. Techniques For Mind-Blowing Food Pairings
Looking to create a unique experience that will make your company stand out from all others? Food pairing is a new field of culinary investigation focusing on combining dominant matched flavor compounds to intensify the taste experienced by the consumer. It allows the chef or food engineer the ability to recreate and echo a flavor by combining chemical elements similar to that flavor. Unlock the mystery of taste and flavor using chemistry and scientific methods to learn how to hit the food pairing “g” spot and make palates explode every time.
  Larrian Gillespie MD, Culinary Science Investigations, Los Angeles, CA
  The Master of the Appetizer
The goal of the passed appetizer is to tease the taste buds with a burst of a full flavored bite-size tidbit and whet the appetite for more. Whether served in a spoon, on a pick, in a pastry vessel, or just picked up, the passed appetizer makes the first impression on guests at your events. Paul will share new recipes for unique appetizers in this idea-packed, recipe supported session.
  Paul Larson, Executive Chef, Blue Plate, Chicago, IL
  Are You Transporting Food Into the Danger Zone?
Food safety should be every caterer’s No. 1 concern, from the time raw ingredients arrive at your door to the prepping, cooking, holding, serving and storing of food. Join us as we bring awareness to team members at every level of the organization, every step of the way. Find potential pitfalls to be vigilant about and bring back tips to train the entire staff to ensure HACCP compliance in your operation.

Victoria Griffith, CP-FS, Griffith Safety Group, Washington, DC

Catherine Vu, Marketing Manager, Cambro, Huntington Beach, CA

  Smokin’ Hot Tableside
Season 9 Top Chef contestant Ashley Santo Domingo takes the AOCF stage to bring the best outdoor real smoke flavored foods from the backyard into the dining room. Sharing a unique concept of tableside smoking, she will teach all the details from prep to pack-out to execution of this station concept. Learn about the types of smoking, the flavors of wood chips and the aromas to use, as well as the costs and benefits of tableside smoking. This is the perfect class for chefs seeking four-alarm sizzle with a smoky taste and a new fun concept for your next event.
  Ashley Santo Domingo, Executive Chef, 24 carrots, Irvine, CA
12:30pm Sweet Meet Savory, Savory Meet Sweet
Blending traditional sweets and traditional savory items into tasty combinations is a hot trend in fine dining, food trucks, catering, and everything in between. From apps to mains, learn some new and unique concepts, tips for blending sweet and savory elements, and creative presentations for these over the top recipes.
  Adam Gooch, Executive Chef, Purple Onion Catering Company, Vienna, VA
  Break for lunch - boxed lunch provided    
Facility Tours
Get an up-close look at how successful caterers stay on top, organize their operations and run a completely inspired business. Enjoy the hospitality of three Atlanta caterers with samples of food, beverages and behind-the-scenes secrets at each location.
• A Legendary Event
• Bold American Events
• Proof of the Pudding
  Details >

TUESDAY, August 5

  Continental breakfast    
Nitty Gritty Down and Dirty Details. Food Costing and Inventory Control Systems
Creative menus beautifully presented are great for marketing, but to be profitable you need kitchen systems and procedures to ensure you are selling at the right price and not losing raw materials to waste and theft. This panel of successful catering chefs representing companies from both small and large markets will share the details for implementing successful inventory and food costing systems.
  Bill Pannhoff, Moderator/Consultant, Catersource Consulting Unit, Spring Lake, NC
  Wild, Seasonal, From the Sea and From the Farm
Focusing on recipes from his newly published book, Preserving Wild Foods, Matthew will demonstrate how to have seasonal ingredients available year round by curing, canning, smoking, preserving, and pickling. Whether you forage in the wild or at the farmers’ market, you will delight in learning how to preserve seasonal ingredients and make them available for your clients’ special menus.
  Matthew Weingarten, Chef/Author/Culinary Director, Setting by Sodexo, New York, NY and National Board Director, Chef's Collaborative
  Looking Into the Culinary Crystal Ball
It is a continual challenge to meet the expectations of your food savvy customers. In this session, Globally Certified Master Chef Michael Robins explores the caterers' ever-changing challenges of keeping up with consumer trends in eating. This session will include marketing insights and hands-on culinary demonstration.
  Michael Robins, CMC, Research Chefs Association, Atlanta, GA and Karen O’Connor, Executive Chef, Daniel et Daniel, Toronto, Ontario, CAN
  Red or Yellow. Using Watermelon for Apps and First Courses
It’s an Old South tradition: sitting on the back porch eating chilled slices of watermelon, but today’s chefs have taken a different twist with this cool, crisp, sweet and refreshing fruit. Learn ideas using compressed watermelon in apps and salads and then use the leftover pieces to make a unique watermelon consommé or gazpacho.

Jamie Keating, CEC, Chef/CEO, JK Culinary INC, LaGrange, GA

  Scallops. The OTHER Shellfish
Scallops are often overlooked in catering, but are really a very good choice for your seafood menus. Served chilled, at room temperature or hot from the sauté pan, tender succulent scallops are a great choice for passed appetizers, first courses or entrees. During this session, Todd will share some of his favorite, flavor-packed scallop recipes.
  Todd Annis, Executive Chef, Bold American Events, Atlanta, GA
  What the Chef Wants Now, What the Sales Team Wants Now
At Daniel et Daniel, there is a Team Menu Building Council that develops the menus that the culinary team wants to make and the sales team wants to sell. Learn how this Council, consisting of both chefs and sales team members, design new seasonal menus that make everyone happy and keep the company current and fresh.
  Karen O’Connor, Executive Chef, Daniel et Daniel, Toronto, Ontario, CAN
Afternoon Lunch+Learn Corporate Catering Lunch
Add spark and creativity to your Corporate Catering Menus with these cold lunch ideas created by the chefs of the ICA Culinary Council. Whether it's creative boxed lunches or new ideas for buffet platters, you will leave this tasty lunch not only with a full stomach, but a bunch of great new recipes to add to your company’s corporate catering selections.
  Produced by Robin Selden, Executive Chef, Marcia Selden Catering & Events, Stamford, CT; Keith Lord, Director of Operations, The Wild Catering & Event Planning, San Diego, CA; and the ICA Culinary Council
  Embracing the Past to Enhance Today’s Cuisine. The Art of Heritage Cooking
Knock the dust off of the cast iron Dutch oven and learn how to bring favorite traditional cooking methods and foods from the past into today’s menus and events.  Heritage cooking is not only a connection to the past, but a way to appreciate how food is harvested and brought to the table by slow cooking methods. Lee and Ashley will share recipes that have been handed down through the generations, talk about the uniquely Southern influences on foods and demonstrate some rustic presentation concepts.
  Lee Epting, Founder and Daniel Epting, COO, Epting Events, Athens, GA
  It's a Small World After All. Ethnic Influenced Breakfast Menus
Spice up your breakfast menu selections with recipes and fusion-style ideas inspired by ethnic cuisine. From North to South or East to West, learn what is on the breakfast table and how you can use these ideas to create new breakfast dishes for your menus.
  Joanne Purnell, Chef de Cuisine, Good Gracious! Events, Los Angeles, CA
  Two Sides of the Same Fish
Learn about the less commonly served sustainable fish, such as barramundi, see recipes using fish in different applications, and learn how to adapt your fish recipes to work for high-end plated presentations or for more simple presentations appropriate for serving thousands of guests.
  Vagn Nielsen, Corporate Executive Chef, Proof of the Pudding, Atlanta, GA
  Shades of Green
Life after kale. What is the next trendy and healthy, dark, leafy green that will be appearing on your menus? Look into the wild green yonder and learn about beet tops, dinosaur kale, kohlrabi and more.
  Lon Lane, Owner and Stewart Lane, Catering R & D Chef, Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions, Kansas City, MO
  Charcuterie. A Top Trend for Appetizers
The definition of charcuterie is the art of making sausages and other cured, smoked and preserved meats. In addition to sausages, classic charcuterie items include pâtés, terrines, galantines, ballotines, and confit. The art of in-house charcuterie is making its way into catering kitchens and onto catering menus. Join Tim as he demonstrates a few recipes from the highly touted kitchens of the Rosewood Market in Highlands, NC.
  Tim Lundy, Executive Chef/Owner, Rosewood Market, Highlands, NC
  Tools of the Trade. The Art of Knife Sharpening
Perfectly honed knives are essential tools in catering kitchens. Top Chef Season 9 contestant Tyler Stone has studied with a third generation master sharpener in Japan and is skilled in the art of sharpening, both single bevel and Western style knives. Learn the finer points of sharpening your knives with whetstones in the traditional manner during this “cutting edge” session.
  Tyler Stone, Chef Tyler Stone, Sacramento, CA
5:30pm Accent Decor Showroom Tour
Go behind the scenes of the stunning Atlanta showroom and discover what Accent Decor has up their sleeves for your catered events.
Evening Break    
7:30pm-10:30pm a la cARTe: An Exclusive Showing
This colorful event will give you a new perspective on buffets. Bring a sense of humor and ponder the possibilities. Sharing a certain je ne sais quoi with an artistic slant, this unique collection of food stations goes from art-in-the-park to a museum setting. It’s interactive, engaging, and oh so Wickedly Delicious!
  Details >

This is an optional event.
Ticket purchase is required
to participate.


  Continental breakfast    
Simple Molecular, Superb Results
Incorporating modern cooking techniques should add value to your dishes. By using hydrocolloids and other unique ingredients, many new textures and presentations can be created to transform food. Learn simple ways in which to incorporate this style of cooking to add flair to your next dish.
  Tyler Stone, Chef Tyler Stone, Sacramento, CA
  Lunch + Learn • Food Trend Round Robin
Tune in to the latest food trends and learn new recipes and concepts you can add to your repertoire. Walk away with money-making ideas that will keep your company’s menus fresh and trendy while adding dollars to your bottom line.

Food Trends Stations include:
The Next Asian Cuisine
Vegan and Gluten-free Menus
From My Garden to Your Table
Ethnic-inspired Appetizers
BBQ On Your Mind...Georgia Style

  Ken Barrett, Executive Director, Broadway Gourmet, Boston MA; Eric Wolff, Chef/Owner, TEP Catering, Atlanta, GA; Gayle Papsin Greenley, Owner, Loaves and Fishes Catering Company, Atlanta, GA; Bonnie Kravitz, Pastry Chef and Hillary Brown, Assistant to Executive/Sous Chef, Daniel et Daniel, Toronto, Ontario, CAN; and Ashley Epting, CEO, Epting Events, Athens, GA
Afternoon Mini Dessert Circus for Caterers
Desserts should be one of the best parts of an event, so why not make them whimsical and fun! Take away a variety of dessert ideas to add to your miniature desserts, plated desserts or dessert station menus. Learn new techniques and playful presentations to amuse any guest.
  Rachanee Keovorabouth, Executive Chef, Thomas Caterers of Distinction, Indianapolis, IN
  On Stage. Lights, Camera and You
Taking the stage, whether at a conference, on local or national media, in a YouTube video or at a store demo, can cause stress and distress if you are not prepared. Learn the basics of good preparation, how to recover when something goes wrong, and how to make the most of these opportunities to grow your personal and corporate brand.
  Ken Barrett, Executive Director, Broadway Gourmet, Boston, MA

Telling a Story with Food
End these three days of culinary learning at a high-energy closing session followed by a casual networking event where you can mingle with other attendees and speakers.

  Kevin Gillespie, Top Chef and Owner, Gunshow, Atlanta, GA

Crafted Menus For Craft Beer
Small batch crafted beer is the top trend in beverages for 2014.  Learn about the flavor notes and characteristics of craft beers and how to pair recipes with specific beers for a top taste experience.

  Greg Shapiro, Chef/Owner, Tastebuds Custom Catering, Naples, FL

Schedule is subject to change.