With winter starting to feel like it wants to settle in and with the holidays approaching, it is hard to think about the 2014 ACS Conference & Competition in Sacramento next July 29-August 1. That is, unless you are on any of the many volunteer planning committees that help to pull it all together.
In October, a handful of members from the ACS Judging & Competition (J&C) Committee paid a visit to the Sacramento Convention Center in beautiful downtown Sacramento. With the capitol building’s classic rotunda so close to where we’ll all be meeting next summer, I had flashbacks of this summer’s events in Madison, and look forward to Sacramento. In preparation for next year, the J&C Committee has created two smaller working groups. One of these is the Receiving & Logistics Group which has been tasked with examining all of our current logistical systems and procedures to recommend changes. A few members of this group traveled to Sacramento to look at behind the scenes details, to help ensure that cheeses are able to move efficiently during competition. By seeing the space this far in advance, we can make all of the arrangements ahead of time and avoid the surprises that may catch us off guard once we are onsite.
The Category Review Group was put in place to expedite the category review process and make any needed additions, deletions, or changes to ensure that entry categories are appropriate for this growing competition. The fire was lit pretty hot under their feet, and they had to present their recommendations to the J&C Committee for review and approval by the end of October. By meeting this deadline, we can now lock this information into the ACS Judging & Competition database to test, so that we’re ready when we post the Call for Entries next spring. Look for a full report of the 2014 changes in a future CheeseBytes article.
We are also gearing up to launch a dedicated website designed specifically for the ACS Judging & Competition. This will be a separate site from the main ACS website, and will be faster for users than our current entry system. This new site will help guide member cheesemakers through the entry process, and will be your resource for all things Judging & Competition.
As your J&C Committee Chair, I am proud of all of the hard work that we have accomplished since the close of the 2013 competition. We will, as individuals, spend the next month and a half taking some time to enjoy family, the holidays, and perhaps a fine cheese plate at our table…American, of course.
-Tom Kooiman, ACS J&C Committee Chair