Last week was the annual meeting for the Master Chefs of France USA/Canada Chapter, the organization of chefs who I published a cookbook with last year. It was being held in New York City, so they asked me to come and take photographs. It was a three day event, and on the first night (Sunday) there was a reception at the International Culinary Center. There were no formalities, just an evening of food, drink and meeting each other and the sponsors. I got to see all the Chefs that I worked with on the book as well as the new members of the organization.
I have no idea of what was discussed for the 3 days because everything was in French. I wanted to take a photo of the group from a small balcony in the lobby but when I got up there, there was a huge chandelier and flag right in the middle of the room. We worked around it, and it actually looks better than I expected.
Things got more interesting on Monday evening. We boarded a boat in Manhattan, and had an hour-long tour of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty with our final destination being The Liberty Warehouse in Brooklyn. It was quite the Gala! There were ladies shucking oysters, wonderful food & drink, and a terrific band. The program included ACF inductions, ACF Lady of the year, MCF new members presentations, MCF Silver Toque, and a gala dinner with chefs Daniel Boulud, Bernard Liberatore, Jean-Louis Dumonet, Guy Reuge, Claude Godard, and Phillippe Bertineau. The dessert buffet was amazing and provided by the ACF chefs.
Tuesday morning was an 8:00 meeting at the Consulat général and then awards were given out for different achievements (also in French so I’m not sure what they were for, but they were special). Thomas Keller was there and was inducted into the AFC. ACF members don’t have to be French and pastry chefs are included. I spoke to Chef Keller about a Napa Valley Cook Book and said he will participate in it. I am looking forward to that.
Lunch was at Restaurant Daniel. Everyone was waiting in the reception area and when the dining room doors were opened, there was Chef Daniel Boulud standing on a chair with phone in hand videoing while greeting everyone. It’s wonderful seeing Daniel, with his incredible reputation and standing in the culinary world, being so down to earth and approachable. I am not one to be star-struck. I talk to everyone the samem, but this was really cool. Chef Daniel called out my name, BATTMAN about 10 times during lunch. The highlight of the lunch was climbing on a 10 foot ladder and photographing everyone who was there. In the middle of the crowd of chefs were Chefs Daniel & Keller holding up their phones taking selfies.
Chefs are a different breed. Their jobs are very stressful and when they get together, which is not too often, they have a really good, silly and fun time even before the drinking starts. I enjoyed this conference a lot and there were lots of photo ops to catch the feeling of the event. The photos will tell the story.