A week of memorable and carvable experience

Tastes of the world Chef Culinary Conference will allow you to spend 6 days networking with chefs, scientists, food manufacturers, food service operators, academics and other influencers to explore, to learn and to innovate both in presentations and a hands on working environment to tell the stories and to shape the future of food


25th Annual Chef Culinary Conference

Tell your story: Past, Present and Future
University of Massachusetts, Amherst June 9-14, 2019

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Tell your story: Past, Present and Future

Our 25th Anniversary of the Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference, will be from June 9th to 14th, 2019, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This will certainly be a special year as we mark a quarter century; let’s share stories reflecting on the past, embracing the present and anticipating the future. The food scene is ever evolving and our goal is to serve the best possible food to our customers – with attention to healthy nutrition, sustainability, food ethics and deliciousness, to meet the increasing diversity of our consumers’ preferences.

I recall in 1993, attending a vegan workshop conducted by a master chef David St. John Grubb at Trent University, Ontario, Canada and at the time, I would never have envisioned that a plant-based menu would be a growing trend, 25 years later. We are living in the midst of a changing landscape. While there is a growing demand for natural, organic, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised food, and an emphasis on a local/regional food system, there are also global food concerns like climate change, obesity, and the rising health care costs, plus issues of food security. Evolving scientific research findings for health and food technology such as lab grown meat, farm raised and hydroponically grown food can compound confusion in choosing what to serve.

This conference will offer solutions and inspiration to assist you in adapting to the changing landscape of campus dining whether you are a chef, operator, administrator, educator, dietitian or supplier.

UMass’s Annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference is highly regarded as the premiere gathering for food service professionals to learn more about the latest scientific research findings in nutrition, flavor trends, culinary education, and technological know how – all delivered in an engaging environment. The conference will not only showcase the gold standards of world cuisines, but will also hone the culinary skills of attendees.

This milestone year will feature some accomplished chefs and speakers from the past and present, as well as leaders from several renowned universities and chef instructors from Johnson & Wales University and The Culinary Institute of America, all of whom will share their expertise and oversee a variety of workshop demonstrations and sessions. As always, the Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference will culminate with an ACF-sanctioned team competition, a favorite year after year. We are in the process of finalizing our list of expert chefs and presenters. We will keep you posted as information becomes available.

With a growing number of customers with food allergies in America, the challenges universities face will be addressed in our new Nutrition Sessions, led by experts such as registered dietitians, chefs, and scientists. The program is open to Dietitians and Directors attending the Chef Culinary Conference seeking solutions and to share best practices. Session topics include: Managing Food Allergens, Food Labeling Laws, and Gastrointestinal-Related Diseases. See online registration for a special rate.

We invite you to join us as we explore this year’s theme, Tell your story: Past, Present and Future. Learn with us, explore the flavors that will define campus dining, and add your input on how we should approach the dining experience now and well into the future. Full-program attendees will receive 3-4 UMass Continuing Ed credits and 28-30 ACF credits.

Attendance is limited to 350 participants including chefs, managers, manufacturers, farmers, media, and the like, so mark your calendar and register early, as many of the events will sell out as the spring approaches.

Ken ToongKen ToongKen Toong
Executive Director and Chair

"I’ve been fortunate to be apart of this conference for almost eight years. It only gets better each year. The caliber of Chefs and experts that Ken Toong assembles is unparalleled, the knowledge that attendees receive in the week at Umass can only be matched by traveling around the world. I’m looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces again this year."

− Jet Tila

"Taste of the World Chef Culinary Conference is a great conference. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn cuisine from chefs from all over the world. Ken and his culinary team do it right. This will be my seventh year and the conference continues to exceed expectations!"

− Greg Gefroh, University of North Dakota

"We look forward to the conference every year. From the culinary classes with world renown chefs, the culinary competition and the great hospitality of the UMass staff, I dare you to find a better conference that is reasonably priced"

− Craig Mombert, Davidson College

"The UMASS chef conference is the best conference that I have attended. I have been there the last 6 years and I have been lucky enough to have taken my daughter to the last few. She has gotten to meet chefs from all over the world and they have made a lasting impression on her and myself. I have learned more in the one week at his conference from the presenters and chefs from other schools. It is well worth the investment to send as many of your current chefs as you can. There are so many different hands on classes that you will want to have someone in each of them."

− Paul Nicolini, Penn State

"The Chefs’ Conference organized by UMass is the perfect venue for Chefs to get out of their comfort zones and really get back to the basics, great food! An outstanding event perfectly organized with great speaker and demonstrations. A must for all chefs."

− Oliver de Volpi I, McGill University