Food Forward: Embracing the changing landscape of food

UMass's annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference is highly regarded as the premiere gathering for high-volume food service operators and campus chefs, to learn more about world cuisines and flavor trends in an engaging environment.


24th Annual Chef Culinary Conference

Food Forward: Embracing the changing landscape of food
University of Massachusetts, Amherst June 3-8, 2018

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Food Forward: Embracing the changing landscape of food

Soon it will be time for the 24th Annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference, from June 3rd to 8th, 2018, in the heart of the picturesque campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This year, the Chef Culinary Conference will aim to bring foodservice concepts into the next generation – one that embraces nutrition, sustainability, and food ethics, to meet the increasing diversity of consumers’ preferences.

Let it be known that we’re living in the midst of a food revolution. 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 rising health care costs. Evolving scientific research findings for health and food technology can compound confusion in choosing your healthy diet.

On our campus, GenZ and millennial diners are demanding an experience of social responsibility, transparency, diversity, health and wellness, sustainable and delicious food for all eating occasions while snacking is a new way of eating. With the explosive growth of technology, delivery is going to be everywhere. As operators, we also need to balance between budget restraints versus customer expectations. How do we provide more value and create a memorable experience, one meal at a time? This conference will offer solutions and inspirations to assist you in adapting to the changing landscape of campus dining whether you are a chef, operator, administrator, educator 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 technology 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 year’s impressive entourage of experts includes leaders hailing from several renowned universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, 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 finalizing our list of expert chefs and presenters, and will post the names in the near future.

We invite you to join us as we explore this year’s theme, Food Forward: Embracing the changing landscape of food. 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

Our Sponsors

"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