Q1 2021 President's Message
Greetings my fellow culinarians,
First and foremost, thank you for allowing me to be your ACF Tampa Bay Chapter President. Although, I do have some BIG shoes to fill, I have confidence that with the teamwork of our board and continued guidance from our Chairman, Chef Rene Marquis, our chapter will get back on track and will continue to grow. I cannot make any promises, but I can tell you that I am determined to keep our path of always helping others.
Many of you have returned to meetings and some of you have not. We do understand and respect your decision to stay away from meetings due to COVID until fully vaccinated. We are here for you, so please reach out if we can help in any way. Now, we all know that the last year has been a struggle. Time away from loved ones, lost jobs, loss of hours to our schedules, staying home, or just simply having to always keeping our masks up and socially distanced. In our industry, that is a challenge. So please just be sure wash your hands frequently and sanitize more than ever before. I know you have heard this a million times, but please be safe and stay healthy. We are truly fortunate to live in Florida. All my family are on the West Coast. My niece & nephew are just now returning to school since March of 2020. Many businesses were hit hard and there were numerous job losses. Now this is not to say we have not had job losses here in Tampa Bay. Many in our chapter have reached out looking for work and with our network, we do our very best to help each other out. That is all we ask, stay in touch, and reach out when you need a hand. We understand there are hardships, if we can help, we will. During the pandemic last year, we were able to be part of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. We teamed up with Five Star Gourmet Foods and Metropolitan Ministries to be sure the boxes were placed into the hands of those who needed them. In a straight 15 weeks, ACF Tampa Bay distributed 21,600 meals for a total of 216,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to the Tampa Bay community. A big shout out to all who were there to assist and help with these hot days. Check out our Facebook timeline page, @ACFTampaBay for pictures and details. 2021 has begun and we will continue to push on. Last year we did not have a chance to have our student scholarship fundraiser. Residents of Tampa Bay felt comfortable to join us for our event at the Westshore Yacht Club. The socially distancing event was held poolside and the event went smooth without a glitch. We sold out and presented an amazing night with what we know how to do best as Chefs, cook! Out local student culinarians will benefit from this event at the end of the year! Thank you to Chef Rene Marquis for leading this event from start to finish. This has been his undertaking since our 1st Student Scholarship Fundraiser a few years back. I cannot thank the following enough for making the event happen: the 18 chefs who participated, their volunteers, The Bay Club at Westshore Yacht Club, Russell Samson of Arctic Ice, and to our generous sponsor Cheney Bros. It does not stop here, in April we are building a garden and cooking lunch to A Kid’s Place Tampa Bay. The foster children will plant their garden with us for a rewarding experience to them and to us. As part of our Chef & Child and International Chef’s Day campaign, we are Preparing Children for a Healthy Life! COVID will not stop ACF Tampa Bay. When you are ready to join us back in-person for meetings, we are here! But do not wait too long. We have many new Meeting sites this year, to include: Alafia Brewing House of Beer Pelican Golf Club Birchwood Inn So be sure to come back soon! ACF Tampa Bay is here to stay. We will continue helping you, our local students, and our community. We can only encourage you so much, so let us know when you are ready to set a date for your certification practical exam. You are family, so please be sure to reach out to me, or to any board member with concerns, suggestions, ideas, or just to share a happy moment, we want to hear from you. Our contact info can be found on ACFTAMPABAY.COM under the tab About Us and Meet the Board. I am proud to share this chapter with you. Our value as a Chapter is measured by how much we can give back. Vanessa Marquis, CEC President-ACF Tampa Bay Chapter