Conference Highlights

The 30th Annual Chef Conference is back and better than ever. We’re excited to share with you the highlights of our award-winning conference.

Power Of Food

Contributing to health, fostering culture and community, while driving student success

Happy New Year! The 2024 Chef Culinary Conference will be our 30th year edition and, as always, we have a rich and comprehensive educational program planned for you, thanks to our superb team and the support from everyone involved.

This popular event, with the theme “Power of Food’, will be held at UMass Amherst, June 2-7, 2024.

We want to shape the campus dining segment through healthy food and lifestyle options using culturally driven, globally inspired recipes and practices.  There will be a focus on culinary strategy, authenticity, innovation, planetary and human health, diversity, leadership, communication and partnerships, all while serving our Gen Z customers.

New this year, we will add a two-day track for Healthcare professionals on Wednesday and Thursday, in conjunction with the UMass School of Public Health & Health Science.

We expect a great turn-out as we address many hot topics important to our Gen Z customers as we continue to move campus dining to the next level collectively.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Several nationally renowned speakers and food experts will cover trends, leadership, AI and climate change.
  • 30 interactive hands-on workshops with 16 accomplished chefs in the nation and faculty from Johnson & Wales covering a variety of cuisines from the Mediterranean, China, Mexico, Indian and Thai, as well as social media training.
  • Nutrition symposium for registered dietitians, managers, and directors. Nationally-recognized nutrition experts will share the latest advances and best practices regarding accommodating special dietary needs, nutritional impact on menus, the use of AI within the role, and more!
  • 5 esteemed directors from the C&U segment will share their thoughts and vision, from best practices for planetary, DEI, meal plans, culinary strategy and innovation, to campus life and the student experience.
  • 3 C-suite leaders from the supply chain will discuss the state of the industry and how we can all work together strategically to provide customer experience while growing our business.
  • 2 of the most highly cited food scientists in the world will discuss the present situation and the future of food.
  • A Student Panel featuring 5 college students from across the nation will talk about what they are expecting from us as they return to campus this fall.
  • Several marketers and researchers will talk about Gen Z Marketing and will discuss how to create lifelong healthy relationships with food.
  • A Leadership Symposium, exclusively for Food Service/Auxiliary Directors, will feature lively discussions and hands-on sessions with solutions, including AI, on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing collegiate dining and auxiliary programs today.
  • An ACF-sanctioned team competition for 12 teams
  • “Tournament of Champions” competition with celebrity chef Jet Tila
  • A well-known expert in the field will discuss the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion in foodservice.
  • Vendor Trade Show

And much more!

Together, through the Power of Food, we will be contributing to improving health, fostering culture and community, while driving student success on campus and at home. The conference is limited to 500 attendees. We encourage you to sign up early!


Ken Toong

Chair and Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises