Food Matters

UMass's annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference is highly regarded as the premiere gathering for high-volume food service operators and campus chefs, to learn more about world cuisines and flavor trends in an engaging environment.


20th Annual Chef Culinary Conference

University of Massachusetts, Amherst June 15-20, 2014

Conference Photos

Food Matters

For the 20th consecutive year, the 2014 Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference will take place June 15th – 20th here on the picturesque University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus. This year, the Chef Culinary Conference will aim to accelerate foodservice concepts into the next generation – one that embraces health, sustainability, and food ethics, to meet the increasing diversity of consumer preferences. The 2014 conference will feature unique sessions hosted by the nation’s leading experts and innovators in their respective fields and, as always, we will be providing numerous presentations & workshops led by a variety of accomplished chefs.

Food Matters – this is a pivotal time for the industry. We are in the midst of a global revival of food conscious students. Our millennial diners want healthy cuisine that is rich with flavors, yet embraces environmental responsibility. American food is becoming increasingly influenced by world cuisine. Our menus are now reflective of food from every corner of the globe – Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Mediterranean – and our customers are drawn to the bolder and assertive flavors that stem from a broad range of cultures. Our theme for this year, Food Matters will provide you with the tools and the inspiration to create dishes that will entice a generation of diners in search of something new, healthy, sustainable, and delectable. We want food to be a vehicle that creates excitement, builds community, and offers great value.


UMass’s annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference is highly regarded as the premiere gathering for high-volume food service operators and campus chefs, to learn more about world cuisines and flavor trends in an engaging environment. The conference will not only showcase the gold standards of college cuisines, but will also hone the culinary skills of attendees.

This year’s impressive entourage of experts includes leaders hailing from Johnson & Wales University and The Culinary Institute of America, all of whom will share their expertise and oversee a variety of workshop demonstrations and sessions. As always, the Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference will culminate with an ACF-sanctioned team competition, a favorite year after year.

We invite you to join us as we explore this year’s theme, “Food Matters.” Learn with us, explore the flavors that will to define campus dining, and add your input for how we should approach the dining experience now and well into the future.

Attendance is limited to 300 participants including chefs, managers, manufacturers, farmers, media and the like, so mark your calendar and register early, as many of the events will sell out as the Spring approaches. Stay tuned for more updates.

Please visit this site often as it will be updated regularly. Mark your calendar and plan to register early, as many of the events become “sold out” as time approaches the conference date. We look forward to seeing you in June!

Ken ToongKen ToongKen Toong
Executive Director and Chair

Our Sponsors

"I’ve been fortunate to be apart of this conference for almost eight years. It only gets better each year. The caliber of Chefs and experts that Ken Toong assembles is unparalleled, the knowledge that attendees receive in the week at Umass can only be matched by traveling around the world. I’m looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces again this year."

− Jet Tila

"Taste of the World Chef Culinary Conference is a great conference. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn cuisine from chefs from all over the world. Ken and his culinary team do it right. This will be my seventh year and the conference continues to exceed expectations!"

− Greg Gefroh, University of North Dakota

"We look forward to the conference every year. From the culinary classes with world renown chefs, the culinary competition and the great hospitality of the UMass staff, I dare you to find a better conference that is reasonably priced"

− Craig Mombert, Davidson College

"The UMASS chef conference is the best conference that I have attended. I have been there the last 6 years and I have been lucky enough to have taken my daughter to the last few. She has gotten to meet chefs from all over the world and they have made a lasting impression on her and myself. I have learned more in the one week at his conference from the presenters and chefs from other schools. It is well worth the investment to send as many of your current chefs as you can. There are so many different hands on classes that you will want to have someone in each of them."

− Paul Nicolini, Penn State

"The Chefs’ Conference organized by UMass is the perfect venue for Chefs to get out of their comfort zones and really get back to the basics, great food! An outstanding event perfectly organized with great speaker and demonstrations. A must for all chefs."

− Oliver de Volpi I, McGill University