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February 13, 2008

Williamsburg Lodge hosts 2008 American Culinary Federation Southeast Regional Conference

The Southeast Regional Conference of the American Culinary Federation will meet at the Williamsburg Lodge Feb. 29 through March 3. Hans Schadler, executive chef and culinary director for Colonial Williamsburg’s Resort Collection, and Rhys Lewis, executive chef of the Williamsburg Lodge, and the Virginia Chefs Association will welcome chefs from all across the southeastern United States for the event, which includes contests, demonstrations, training and information on the current trends in the culinary field.

The theme for the conference is “A Culinary Revolution,” and includes a look back at some of the foods available during the American Revolution as well as a look at the current revolution in the culinary tastes and expectations of an increasingly sophisticated dining public.

“Hosting the Southeast Regional Conference of the American Culinary Federation is an honor for the Colonial Williamsburg culinary staff,” said Schadler. “We are proud to bring so many talented culinarians to Williamsburg. One of my responsibilities is to mentor and train young chefs so that the profession will grow long after I have left, and this is an opportunity to showcase the culinary profession at its finest.”

Among the programs offered are:

  • "Indigenous Foods of the Americas: Changing the Way the World Eats,” a presentation by John Gonzales, executive chef and owner of A Chef’s Kitchen, an interactive cooking class and dining establishment in downtown Williamsburg. Chef Gonzales will explore the origins of indigenous foods of the Americas, follow their variances across the planet and illustrate the influences on today’s culinary scene. Chef Gonzales will demonstrate by preparing a regional favorite – Iroquois Misickquatosh.
  • “Secrets of the Chocolate Maker,” an illustration of the processing methods of chocolate as it was done in the 18th century. Colonial Williamsburg Historical Foodways journeyman interpreter Jim Gay shows how the tools and techniques have evolved and how the ubiquitous treat was handled and consumed by our founding fathers.
  • “Global Flavors and Your Menu,” will be presented by Steve Jilleba, corporate executive chef for Unilever Foodsolutions, who will prepare exciting dishes from Singapore and Istanbul – examples of authentic dishes from the ever-expanding regions of Asia and the Middle East. He and Unilever’s corporate chef Rudy Smith will present an exciting array of ingredients and spices to tantalize the culinary imagination.
  • “Truffle Trivia” examines different species of truffles, ranging from $30 to $1,500 per pound. This fun and enlightening session, presented by Robert Passarelli, corporate executive chef for U.S. Foodservice, is designed to provide an overview of truffle history, dispelling myths while providing helpful facts for uses, cultivation and identification.
  • “Through the Grapevine: A Williamsburg Wine Experience,” provides an in-depth look at how to pair wines with foods, presented by acclaimed winemaker Matthew Meyer, director of winemaking and vice president of The Williamsburg Winery, Ltd. The session concludes with a discussion on the benefits of supporting local and regional wineries and how to present a truly regional dining experience.
  • “Foods of the Titanic,” with American Culinary Federation national president John Kinsella, presents little known facts about the culinary staff of the ill-fated ship, her kitchen and dining room policies and practices. Chef Kinsella will discuss the menu served the night the ship sank, illustrating the extravagance enjoyed by the first-class passengers and the contrasting menus offered to second- and third-class passengers.
  • American Academy of Chefs Dinner – limited to 100 attendees and created by Hans Schadler, executive chef and culinary director, Colonial Williamsburg, and his talented staff. Served in the elegant Regency Room of the Williamsburg Inn.

    Additional presentations include demonstrations on beef, ice sculpture, lobster harvesting, preparing healthy pastry and 18th-century culinary influences. Chef Roland Mesnier, former White House pastry chef, will share anecdotal accounts of his 25 years preparing desserts for some of the most powerful and influential guests in the world. And, David Everett, chef and owner of the Blue Talon Bistro, shares secrets behind his out-of-the ordinary marketing ideas and concepts.

    In addition to local chefs participating in the conference, many area restaurants are offering dining discounts for conference attendees.

    For a complete schedule of events and presenters and to register and purchase tickets for the events, visit Day tickets with or without meals may be purchased online for pick-up at the pre-registration desk in the Williamsburg Lodge conference center at 310 S. England St. in Williamsburg. The public is welcome to attend most events, but space for some programs is limited.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as the nation’s largest living history museum. The Colonial Williamsburg Company, a subsidiary of the Foundation, operates a Resort Collection with more than 1,000 guest rooms among five hotels including the landmark Williamsburg Inn, four historic dining taverns and six restaurants, and 66,000 square feet of conference space centered at the Williamsburg Lodge, as well as a new 20,000-square-foot spa, and the Golden Horseshoe golf courses. Each purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the Foundation’s preservation, research, and educational programs.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at or

    Media Contact:
    Barbara Brown
    (757) 220-7121

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