Video provided by Ashley Wilson, Filmmaker

(transcript below)

Hi! My name is Jacques Wilson, President of the Monterey Bay Chefs Association.
Happy New Year! The sun has set on 2020.

Although we are in February, on New Year’s Eve a year ago, we were excited to be embarking on a new decade.

But the decade did not start the way we had hoped or dreamed.
2020 turned out to be an exceedingly difficult year.

At the beginning of the year, we were confronted by the outbreak of COVID-19, a global pandemic.

In Monterey County the hospitality industry was hit extremely hard.
Our ACF Monterey Chapter thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on our members, their families, our friends, our vendors, and business partners.

The virus has taken lives.
Many have become ill.
Many have lost their jobs.
Many have lost their businesses.

Reflecting upon all that had transpired throughout last year, we will remember it to be the year that gave new meaning to 2020 hindsight!

2020 was a year of vast choices, ran the gamut of emotions, revealed different perspectives and renewed appreciations of what we hold dear.

2020 hopefully taught us all to appreciate the unexpected and find the good in what exists around us. We learned to be content in the moment, while putting others before us, to be safe from this invisible viral threat.

Today we are here to celebrate the new year and the new opportunities it will bring. Let me present your Board of Directors:
Chef Soerke Peters, Chairman of the Board
Chef Jacques Wilson, CEC, AAC, President
Chef Andrea Hernandez, Vice President
Chef Pam Brooks, Secretary
Chef Paul Lee, CEC, Treasure
Chef Anthony Guajardo, Sergeant-At-Arms
Chef Bert Cutino CEC, AAC, HOF, WCMC, AAC Chair
Chef Mitch Vantagen, Membership Chair
Chef Ken Goebel, Committee Member
Chef Estevan Jimenez, Committee Member
Bill Cox, Communications Chair
Claudia Quirarte, Executive Director

This year will bring demands of hard work and dedication to restore what was lost in our industry. Let us make a difference in 2021 as we come back from this setback, making a memory for a lifetime. A comeback that is well underway. We must stay vigilant as we continue despite the present challenges we face.

Even though 2020 has brought many hardships, we will always look back with admiration on the way the chefs, vendors and the community have generously contributed.
Thank you to the network of supporters to our chapter, our members, friends of the chapter, our business partners and those who have loved this organization. We have created a COVID-19 Scholarship Fund to give a hand-up for the kitchen employees who have lost their jobs.

Many of us are finding that our jobs and positions have become more demanding now.
Some of us will be able to return to our former jobs. Others will have to look for new employment. Moving forward, we will highlight our members and the many places we work. Bringing educational opportunities and networking together.

We can officially stop talking about 2020 now. When it started, we had no idea of the difficult journey that lay ahead. We probably never realized how we took for granted the sense of community and human touch. We are now ready to move forward and that day will come when we can hug, do high-fives and handshakes with each other again.

Therefore, it is no surprise that people want to celebrate when they return to the new normal. The day will come when we can sit close to one another in person to celebrate all the holidays, our birthdays, our victories, family reunions, graduations or just a casual night on the town. The time will come again to be able to go together to concerts, theaters, cafés and restaurants.

Tourists will travel again to enjoy the best of Monterey County. But until that day comes, we will work to support our members and business partners. I encourage everyone who can, to support their local businesses during this period.

As a chapter we are looking forward to a new day dawning; it is a new year ahead of us, so let us strive to put our best foot forward.

I leave you with this quote from one of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington. “At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you have accomplished… it’s about who you have lifted up, who you have made better. It’s about what you have given back.”
Happy New Year! See you real soon.

at your service……
Jacques Wilson, CEC, AAC, CDM
American Culinary Federation
Monterey Bay Chapter