2017 Presidents Report. AGM Australian Institute of TechnicalChefs Inc. (AITC) March 27. 2017
This evening I am honored to deliver the inaugural Presidents report to the first Australian Institute of TechnicalChefs Annual General Meeting.
We welcome all who are personally attending and those who are here through technology on Skype. We also understand the geographical limitations that prohibit others personally attending, but are here in spirit.
AITC originated from a group discussion of chefs who were having a brief coffee break during a cookery competition at a food show in Melbourne May 2015.
Nothing immediately happened, however the notion of a registration / licensing board was seeded in the minds of the chefs, who had come to realise that waiting for any official government initiated license of a professional chef would never come from any government agency and for many reasons.
For decades, as far back to 1980 approaches to authorities had been put into the hard basket and additionally politically influenced to not happen.
We came to ask ourselves, why not initiate a driven industry license, every organisation like the medical association, the Royal Automobile Club, the paramedics all must have logically started from a small group of people who had a dream, and just began it. In other words someone had to start it. They grew and proved their worth and only then officialdom was forced to eventuate.
Realising the industry requires two kinds of chefs; the semi skilled novice and the fully skilled professional; we shaped a structure that reflects the two levels, a lower level called chefs and an advanced level of chef. Almost similar to an accountant and Charted Accountant, both required by their industry, however one needs to provide evidence of higher levels of qualification and experience and consequently be endorsed at a higher level in their career or a TechnicalChef.
Consequently in September 2015 a meeting was convened to discuss the potential of a professional chefs organisation to implement the ideology, subsequently, the Australian Institute of TechnicalChefs Inc, was formally established.
We basically said let chefs be chefs be they station chefs or executive chefs, we cannot change that fact, we cannot change the reality ,there are many chefs who are unskilled or incorrectly titled, however let those who practice at a higher more responsible and experienced level be identified as a professional chef and be acknowledged for what they have earned and deserve.
In the immediate months a constitution was developed, by-laws written, a webpage developed. It was only in very late 2016 and early 2017 that serious marketing commenced.
What has been achieved in the time since commencement is frankly remarkable. AITC has achieved positioning itself in the industry that took other associations more than 10 years to achieve. While AITC has a long way to go, the association however is now set to move forward.
First I am privileged to have had a passionate and visionary inaugural council who without exception have been instrumental in positioning AITC quickly.
I personally thank Robert Ford for his vital pedantic and knowledgeable approach and experience in ensuring that the Institute is legally established. On many occasions, I needed some advice and asked Robert who immediately provided the answers. Robert registered the association, created standardised minutes and more, Thank you Robert.
Raquel Townsend stood for Vice president, and demonstrated extraordinary professionalism and enthusiasm by attending meetings coming all the way from Warrigal, where travelling back and forth was longer than the actual meeting. But Raquel is also instrumental in making sure special projects were achieved, such as the production and distribution of badges, and each time in council meetings providing sensible views in the discussions. Thank You Raquel
Domenico Tellatin, our treasurer has done a great job in setting up bank accounts and keeping track of member payments, sending invoices, maintaining records and keeping us informed of who has paid fees, Great job Domenico, Thank you.
Ernst Schwab arranged meetings with TAFE providers, presentations at teaching seminars and spoke on many occasions to Tafe administrators and others to promote TechnicalChef. We have many members through Ernst, Thank you
Thank you Kevin Starow for arranging the great badge design with is magical simplicity and a symbol that is exceptional, effective and emotive. Kevin has also placed a great deal of effort in social media particularly with Facebook. Ensuring the AITC Brand only demonstrates quality in everything we do. Chefs now know AITC is quality in everything.
Andrew Wisken has spent many hours ensuring that every applicant has the professional requirements to be a licensed member, I know sometimes sending many emails combined with research to ensure Only Legitimate Only Professional (AITC motto) in joining AITC. thank you Andrew, for a great job particularly setting the stage for the future.
Martin Probst produced numerous press releases. Releases that demonstrated how serious we were about AITC, and more importantly greatly positioned us in the Industry. Thank you Martin
Handi used his influence in the Asian community to promote the ideals of a professional association and explaining TChef that resulted in applications thank you Handi we need your enthusiasm to nourish the association
Belinda only recently joined council and your input is greatly appreciated and I am sure a great future contribution in the making.
We made the decision to only conduct four meetings a year, with meetings scheduled to only last between 1 and 1.5 hours. In the modern culture, where electronic communication is entrenched and everyone time poor, this was a good decision and will continue as a policy.
The council does not meet for a talk feast. When everyone is achieving their role and contribution, all that is necessary is give a report to show achievement, explore future opinions, outline the next step, obtain agreement and move forward.
We have a great deal to thank our many supporters and sponsors and acknowledge individuals and companies who see our vision to lock in professional standards that mirror their own standards of operation.
I strongly urge members to note and remember individuals and the companies that assisted this organisation when we needed them. A friend in need is a friend indeed. We express our gratitude for their assistance. And look forward to a long and close association between AITC senior chefs and their business.
The first meeting to discuss forming a formal association based on a registration process with a board empowered to issue an industry driven chefs licence to proven professionals, was convened on 15th September 2015.
Looking at our statistics since (21 March 2016)
The achievements have been remarkable and include:
Member resource achievements:
We have been disappointment with Australian Culinary Federation who has never officially recognised AITC even though many official written and verbal approaches have been made to them; explaining that AITC stated policy is to recognise all chefs associations. That AITC is only focused as a registration/licensing board, based on evidence of commercial experience irrespective membership of any other association and will only be involved with issues associated with training and professional standards. And that the issuing of a license by a neutral organisation to show professional integrity is a process not provided by any other association; even though many chefs who are also ACF members have identified the need for this initiative and have been inducted into TechnicalChef.
There are three important observations
The ingredients have been purchased, the mise – en – place basically prepared, now is the time to start cooking and hopefully the banquet is yet to come.
I ask councillors to give their report before I disband the inaugural council and ask Robert to administer the first election and AGM of the AITC.
George Hill Interim President
The first annual general meeting and the election of the first council of the Australian Institute of TechnicalChefs Inc (AITC) with the responsibility to manage TChef going forward is an historic moment from which there can be no return. TChef now gives a choice to real chefs to remain just an ordinary chef as a vague definition of a career or realise the benefits and difference of being recognised as a professional chef.
Chefs now have a clear choice to ignore the decline of a great career and vocation as a chef influenced by the growing number of people identified as chef who fundamentally are not, believing the decline does not affect them. Or move forward by collectively and forcefully banding together in one simple concept that will objectively identify the professionals in the industry and collectively return the title professional chef by being acknowledged and inducted as a member of AITC.
More than ever before professionals need a mechanism in which to function in the ever changing culinary world yet keep alive the values, attitudes and reputation that underpins what a genuine professional chef stands for.
A mechanism that will return clarity to a position and promote to the community what is genuine chef is.
TChef will continue to acknowledge and closely collaborate with existing Chefs organizations, TChef intends to operate constructively and cooperate as a partner in a culinary trilogy.
There is a need for a chefs organisation focused on conducting competitions for young cooks and chefs, as is the focus of the Australian Culinary Federation. Just as there is a need for senior chefs to directly network or socialize in their own sphere of influence as one does as a member of Les Toques Blanches. There is however a third and equally vital component, the need for a neutral organisation to focus on licensing professional chefs, by professional chefs; that every chef who considers themselves a professional must join to protect their industry
TChef is now on that road, offering huge opportunities, a simple roadmap to enshrine chefs as professionals and provide an opportunity for everyone to succeed no matter their affiliations.