My last ACF convention was in Chicago 14 years ago.  A lot has changed since then.  Students are getting better and the food is more complex.  Chefs are creating amazing things using lesser cuts of meat, budgets are getting tighter, kitchen brigade styles are changing, and so on and so on.

Anyway here is a glimpse of what happens at these conventions.  The following group of five photos are from the Chef of the Year competition.  Four finalists compete.  Each chef has to present four different dishes.  One of each, for a total of four different dishes, has to be complete in one hour as the presentation.  Then they have to cook and present four of each to the judges for tasting.  This year's feature item was quail.  Enjoy some of the pictures below:

Note:  I would like to stress that even with all the innovative and trendy stuff that's featured on magazine covers all over the world, there is no substitute for good basic cooking.  These dishes show great butchery and sauce making, combined with good knife work and a little bit of pastry skill.