MenuDirections 2013 Day 3: World Cuisines and Menu Trends

The final day of the conference featured tastes from around the globe and a look at upcoming menu trends.

Fernando Acuna, director of food and nutrition, volunteer services and valet services at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, won the sixth annual Steal This Idea contest, sponsored by Simplot. Acuna won an iPad mini. See Acuna’s idea below.

The most difficult time for any family in a hospital is waiting for a loved one to inevitably pass. Keeping this in mind, we provide comfort carts. We deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner to the patient’s room. The family can focus on being with their loved one without worrying about leaving for meals. Caring for the patient’s family at this time is an important expression and a huge success for our organization. We extend compassion and caring beyond the typical hospital setting, and the families are deeply appreciative.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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