Chances are you are reading this after over 150 chefs, cooks, and culinary partners gathered in Saskatoon for our first National Annual Conference since 2019. We are thrilled to be back in person and able to Reset, Reconnect, and Revive the Culinary Industry through networking, education sessions, product showcases, culinary competitions, and awards celebrations.
If you couldn't join us this year, we felt your absence, and we hope to have you with us next year in Niagara Falls as we celebrate our 60th year.
Our Federation family was more crucial than ever during the pandemic. Even though the last two years put roadblock after roadblock in our path, we found new ways to connect and thrive amidst them. If you are still feeling the isolating effects of the pandemic, we invite you to find a branch near you to come and connect with your culinary peers — there is a place for everyone.
Our membership has held strong throughout difficult circumstances. During these times, your national board, administrative team, and I continued to do our best to bring value to returning and new members. I wanted to share some of the ways we continued to activate the four pillars of the Federation – Education; Health & Wellness / Community Involvement; Culinary Challenges / Competitions; and Networking and Personal/Professional Development over the past year:
Federation Family Campaign
Social Media Campaign — a main CF branded video about the federation being one big family of chefs, cooks, and culinary partners. Custom local branch branded videos as well.
Family Food Culinary Competition
Culinary Programs from the different regions of the country competed in a culinary knowledge bowl, with two teams gathering at the National Conference for the finals. The two finalists were Fanshawe College from the Central Region and NAIT from the Western Region.
February Wellness Challenge
Members joined our Wellness challenge to increase their physical activity and wellness for 28 days. We tracked the activity in our Strava App Challenge Group with our Wellness Ambassador Chef Mike Pitre.Thank you to everyone who participated.
CF Apparel Fall & Spring Lines
We had our first ever Culinary Federation Branded Apparel line created, with two seasons of orders
(October and April). The feedback from the membership has been very positive — the quality of the
apparel has been very impressive.
Reintroducing In-Person Branch Meetings
Almost all branches have now re-introduced local meetings — workshops, culinary competitions, networking opportunities and local philanthropic endeavours. We are so proud of our local branches.
Online Regional Conferences
The Western Region, Central Region, and Eastern Region all conducted their regional conferences online between March and May.
Sysco Virtual Kitchen - Chefs in the Field Series
Over the last year our SVK Chefs in the Field Series has seen the following special guests — Amy Symington, a Plant-Based Chef out of Toronto; Monin Headquarters and Factories across the US; Chicken Farmers of Canada; Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon; Prince Edward Aqua Farms; Raspberry Point Oysters; and Clever Crow Farms on Vancouver Island,
SVK Virtual Kitchen — Influencer Fridays with some of our Young Chef Members!
Weekly reviews of SYSCO products by Jesse Kushneryk, Eli Cami, Brittany Failler.
Monthly Hot Off the Grill Newsletter
Monthly Member Features, Culinary Team Features, Culinary Partner Features, New Member Welcomes, etc.
Chicken Challenge with Chicken Farmers of Canada
Monetary prizes and donations to food banks for the top three winners in September 2021.
Minor's Ready to Flavour Culinary Contest
Culinary Contest, featuring Minor's flavour concentrates, May/June 2022
National Day of Truth & Reconciliation Member Activation
Call to action to our membership to donate and recognize our Indigenous chefs and culinary partners. Members made Bannock and Fry Bread recipes and shared them online to encourage other chefs to take part, acknowledge the work we still must do regarding reconciliation, and donate to various organizations supporting reconciliation programs.
I would like to take a moment to recognize the efforts of Lisa Evangelos, our National Administrator, and Sue Mercer, our Communications & Conference Manager. Their support and drive to continue to improve communication and benefits to the members is a main component of the accomplishments of the Culinary Federation this past year.
In conclusion, I want to acknowledge the National Board of Directors and Local Branch Boards that have persevered throughout the pandemic to continue to connect with our Culinary Federation family. Your efforts are seen and celebrated, and we thank you for your passion and dedication to the culinary industry and your fellow chefs.
As always, the National Board, administrative team, and I will continue to do our best to work hard for the membership in the coming year.
Thank you sincerely,