Chefs, cookbook authors, food writers and media influencers will gather in Birmingham this weekend for the 43rd International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference: An Alabama Feast, a three-day food adventure that will feature an opening-night street party, a bar crawl, cooking demos and table talks from some of the country’s top tastemakers.
This will be the first time the IACP has held its annual conference in Birmingham. Among the previous host cities are New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Portland and Seattle.
Many of the IACP 43 events will take place in and around Pepper Place and Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. The conference runs from Friday, Oct. 22, through Sunday, Oct. 24.
Ticket platforms include conference passes good for the entire weekend, single-day passes, and individual tickets for specific events. For a complete schedule with times, locations and ticket information, go here.
Here are some, but not all, of the things going on at IACP 43 this weekend:
The conference kicks off Friday, with an opening-night Sweet Home Street Party at Pepper Place, which will feature bites and small plates from the chefs at Bettola, Blueroot, Blueprint on 3rd and Hot and Hot Fish Club.
That same night, Tasting TBL chef Tyler Lyne and pastry chef Jennifer Lyne will host a dinner with a view from the top two floors of Birmingham’s John Hand Building.
Also Friday, the Birmingham Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier will host a Birmingham Bar Crawl through some of downtown’s trendiest craft-cocktail lounges.
Saturday morning, at Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham chef Clayton Sherrod, Alabama beekeeper Justin Hill, Sloss Real Estate CEO Cathy Sloss Jones, educator and founding Birmingham Civil Rights Institute board chair Odessa Woolfolk and others will join restaurateurs Dean Robb of Blueprint on 3rd, Jorge Castro of Sol y Luna Tapas & Tequilas and Crystal Peterson of Yo’ Mama’s for a table talk called “My Sweet – And Delicious – Home Alabama.”
At lunchtime Saturday, James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott’s BBQ will talk about his low-and-slow method for smoking meat and serve guests a whole-hog barbecue lunch complete with mac and cheese, coleslaw and sweet tea. Hero Doughnuts will provide dessert.
A series of Alabama Tastemakers workshops on Saturday will include sessions hosted by:
–> Bandit Pâtisserie pastry chef Kristen Farmer Hall, who will show how to make, store, roll and bake a pate Sucree, a sweet pastry dough used for making tarts.
–> Dread River Distilling Co. co-founder John Cubelic, who will offer up a few creative spins on autumn craft cocktails using Dread River’s house-made syrups and spirits.
–> Melany Robinson, founder of the Sprouthouse public relations agency that represents some of the top chefs and restaurants in the Southeast, who will talk about building a brand.
–> Cyndy Cantley, the lead designer and owner of the kitchen and bath design firm Cantley & Company, who will shares tips on entertaining, focusing on tablescapes and autumn style.
Other workshops on Saturday include sessions on creating a cooking content platform, on building a healthy and sustainable food system, and on eating, living and aging well.
Then, on Saturday night, comedian Roy Wood Jr. from “The Daily Show” and “American Idol” champ Ruben Studdard will emcee the 2021 IACP Media + Cookbook Awards, which will take place in the Casting Shed at Sloss Furnaces.
An after-party at Back Forty Beer Company will include craft beers and pub food from chef Russ Bodner.
Sunday morning, guests may enjoy a build-a-biscuit sandwich bar hosted by the editorial teams from Food & Wine, Southern Living and the Meredith Food Studios at Jones Valley Teaching Farm. JVTF executive director Amanda Storey will share the story of the urban farm in the heart of downtown Birmingham, where students learn about farming and the power of food.
Also on Sunday, a conversation about the relationship between food and civil rights will feature, among others, Bryant Terry, chef and author of the new book “Black Food”; Sephira Shuttlesworth, educator and wife of the late Birmingham civil rights giant Fred Shuttlesworth; and former U.S. Senator Doug Jones, who, as a U.S. attorney, successfully prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the infamous1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
Alabama native and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg will tell some of his favorite food tales in a conversation with Southern Living editor-in-chief Sid Evans during a session titled “Biscuits & Jam.”
In another Alabama Tastemakers workshop, Tasting TBL’s Tyler Lyne and Jennifer Lyne will return Sunday to present a fall-themed cooking demo featuring a savory dish and a sweet dessert.
Other Sunday sessions include a journalism workshop on finding and telling compelling food stories, featuring editors from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Food & Wine and other media outlets; a conversation with some of the America’s top pastry chefs and cookbook authors on the latest baking trends; and a chat with Hoffman Media founder Phyllis Hoffman DePiano, who started with one magazine and built a publishing company with 11 titles in its portfolio.
For a full schedule of events and more information about the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference, go here.