General Sessions  

Chef Sean Brock

Thursday, July 13


Taming Passion. Balancing Passion vs Stepping Away from the Stove. Lessons learned outside the kitchen 

McCrady’s, Husk Charleston, Husk Nashville & Minero

Chef Sean Brock joined the Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG) as executive chef at McCrady’s in Charleston in 2006. In 2010, Brock opened Husk, also in Charleston and named “Best New Restaurant in America” by Bon Appétit in 2011, followed by Husk Nashville in 2013, named one of “America’s Best New Restaurants” by Esquire in 2014. Husk is a celebration of Southern ingredients, only serving food that is indigenous to the South. In October 2014, Brock opened Mexican-inspired Minero in Charleston. A second Minero opened in Atlanta at Ponce City Market in 2015.

Brock won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Southeast” in 2010, and is a four-time finalist for “Outstanding Chef”, including 2016. He hosted season two of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Mind of a Chef” on PBS, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. His first cookbook, Heritage (Artisan Books), was released in October 2014 and is a New York Times bestseller and recipient of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Book Award for “American Cooking”.

Banding People Together

Friday, July 14



Finding Your Collaborative Groove


This music-filled high-energy session illustrates an entirely new way to view "collaboration" that shifts participants’ mindset from activity based to a defined process that can be learned, taught, developed and measured.
Participants will:



Banding People Together is a super group of rock stars, behaviorists and strategists that help individuals, teams and organizations learn how to collaborative effectively to get more done and feel great doing it. Our True Collaboration℠ methodology combines validated behavioral science with the power of music to deliver a non-traditional, content rich learning experience that dramatically impacts engagement, talent management, performance and culture.

Steve Donahue 

Saturday, July 15


Steve Donahue is an author, speaker, filmmaker and worldwide expert in Narrative Intelligence.   His first book, Shifting Sands: A Guidebook for Crossing the Deserts of Change, is an international bestseller.  Steve has addressed over 500 organizations globally including AT&T, Boeing, General Electric, Hilton Hotels, Pepsico and UPS.

As a young man Steve crossed the Sahara Desert.  Decades later he embarked on a 3 year - 72,000 mile odyssey to find a new story and a reason to tell it. These incredible journeys inspire his work to create legendary leadership in epic organizations. Steve is a pioneer in developing innovative approaches to conference presentations.  His EpicThemeWeaver® program tells the story of the entire event by including the ideas, experiences and insights of attendees. 

Steve is a former stand-up comedian and a spellbinding storyteller. He grabs your attention and never lets go.  His humorous, interactive and deeply researched presentations touch the heart and soul of corporate purpose and individual motivation.

In this electrifying session Steve brings his ThemeWeaving® to a finale blending narratives from his epic journeys with stories from our careers and this conference. Using excerpts from his Sahara adventure and a 72,000 mile global odyssey, Steve will help us see life and work as an unfolding epic tale. We will learn how stories create reality and determine our results and why narrative often trumps logic in many of the most important decisions we make. Steve will show us why our work is truly epic and how to use that narrative knowledge to be the heroes and heroines of our personal and food service stories.

Culinary Challenge 

Thursday, July 13

Come one, come all to the 17th NACUFS Culinary Challenge. Pans will be sizzling, knives will be moving with speed and precision and competition will be fierce, as the six contestants chosen in regional challenges earlier this year face off and race against the clock in this American Culinary Federation-sanctioned contest. The challenge is classified as a Category W - Customized Wildcard Competition.

Individual competitors will have 60 minutes to prepare four portions of an original hot entrée, featuring the mandatory ingredients of Bone-In Pork Loin, 4-8 bones (chine bone may be removed before the competition)–other pork cuts may be included in the dish. In addition, the competitors will be judged on two classic knife skills.

Three ACF-approved judges will select the winners. Contestants will be judged on the taste of the finished product, the demonstration of cooking skills and culinary techniques, and the practice of organizational skills, including sanitation principles. 

ACF gold, silver, and bronze medals will be awarded on competition point totals. All participants will receive certificates.

Be sure to stop by and cheer for your region’s competitor!