This year has been full of firsts for the Pacific Region. Dinner under the space shuttle, a night at Sony Studios, and an app that allowed pacific region members to share their experiences were just some of the firsts that emerged from the regional conference at USC. The fond memories are still fresh in my mind, as I’m sure they are for those of you who also attended. Bravo to Kris Klinger and his team for hosting a flavorful conference that entertained, enlightened, and inspired our membership. Congratulations are also in order to Ed Glebus from San Diego State University for his win in this year’s Culinary Challenge. Ed and I shared an uncanny moment at a late night event when we realized that we worked together almost twenty years ago at a French restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp disctrict. This was a first that really struck me and I got a sense of how interconnected the college food service world is. That’s the beautiful thing about our organization. Despite all the firsts, that sense of community and meeting new friends that you feel you’ve known a lifetime remains constant. I know we’ll bring that same spirit to next year’s regional conference, which we’re hosting here at UC Santa Cruz, even as we change the scenery from the sunny valleys of southern California to the misty hills of northern California.
I hope you all are also getting excited for the National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. It will prove to be an event to remember, full of amazing educational opportunities and many moments to build relationships with members from around the globe. Speaking of firsts, the Pacific Region will be hosting a networking reception at the conference on Friday, July 11th from 6-7:30 p.m. with snacks and beverages. We will also have reservations available at several local restaurants so break-out groups of new friends can have dinner. Our goal is to foster that same community spirit that brings so much life to these conferences. I’m sure most of us have been first-timers with the “deer-in-headlights” look on our faces. Those are the most critical moments to build bridges between members. Those of you who have been around a while can reconnect with old colleagues and meet new friends at the various receptions, Club NACUFS, or at the closing event held the famous Ravens’ stadium. Of course Ed will represent our region at the National Culinary Challenge, so please, come show your support!
This year has also been full of firsts for our association at the national level. NACUFS recently put together a governance workgroup that helped us take a long hard look at ourselves and how we could be reborn as an organization poised to meet the future united and strong. Cam Schauf of the University of Rochester chaired the committee and our national president, Mark LoParco did a fantastic job dispelling the rumors and reassuring us that this difficult self-examination was for good of us all. I have a lot of faith in recommendations the workgroup made and I’m sure they will breathe new life into our association. We are all in this together and it will be our task move forward united as we bring a new, stronger and more vibrant NACUFS to fruition.
One thing that is not new though is that we rely on you, the volunteers, to keep our organization alive. I encourage you and your colleagues to get involved in any way you can. Ask any one of our regional officers about volunteer opportunities and I am confident they will steer you in the right direction. You could possibly be writing a president’s address in the not-so-distant future. Please help us to make sure that we keep creating more firsts as an organization, but not without that unchanging spirit of community and shared experience that initially brought us here to NACUFS.
Pacific Regional President
University of California-Santa Cruz
This new year brought us a new team to host Pacific ChefNet, but true to the NACUFS spirit, UC Santa Barbara didn't miss a beat! They developed an amazing program and the attendees were able to take some new knowledge and techniques back to their home campuses. Don't take my word for it though, just ask Chef Dave Gardinier from UC San Diego. He remarked that, "Chef Net Santa Barbara was a fantastic event, including many interesting and eye opening sessions. We went to a couple of local farms and a fantastic farmers market. We had presentations from food vendors and saw how our foods are processed and packaged. Sustainability and Organic foods are going to big topics in the coming year." Big thanks to the UC Santa Barbara team for bringing us an event to remember!
Check out some pictures below: