The most recent IACP/TCT Regional Conference was held February 18-19 2011. Some 200 members of the food community gathered IACP/The Culinary Trust New York Regional Conference. Friday’s keynote speaker, Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Advisor for Food Policy Initiatives, called on culinary professionals to take action and highlighted recent legislative and policy accomplishments. Following the prepared remarks, Corby Kummer of The Atlantic joined Sam Kass on stage for Q&A. The session delved into several critical areas, including Wal-Mart’s role in the good food movement.
Kass’ speech was followed by a debate moderated by Kummer, featuring a heavyweight team of Professor Marion Nestle, Chef Bill Telepan, author and culinary historian Betty Fussell and Greenmarket director Michael Hurwitz. Questions were submitted by conference registrants and selected by the conference organizers. Each panelist brought his or her own unique point of view and highlighted challenges faced by both industry and consumers. For example, Fussell provided energy and fuel for the debate with a plea for the Cairo Effect to take hold and usher in changes to our food system. Kummer aptly pushed speakers to share and debate their opinions about difficult issues.
Saturday the crowds dispersed to four New York locations to tackle issues of urban and rural foodways, school food, culinary history and communicating in an electronic and digital age. Highlights included: a tasting of incredible breads baked by Hot Bread Kitchen using heritage grains grown in New York State; star-studded panels discussing the history of foods, markets and ethnicities in New York City; and panel discussions on the shifts in communications leading to new challenges and opportunities for both philanthropic projects and food writers in general. The conference also included an opening and closing reception, providing opportunities for members to connect.
Special thanks to the many members of the food community in New York and beyond who donated their time and knowledge to make these workshops informative, educational and fun.