MenuDirections 2013: Conference Download

Attendees share their favorite experiences from the event.

We asked several attendees of the 11th annual MenuDirections conference, held in March in Tampa, Fla., to share their experiences with us. Here’s what they had to say.

What was your favorite dish at the Dine-Around?

“My favorite ‘dish’ actually was the sangria at Columbia. Of course, since that doesn’t qualify as a food group I would go with their stuffed peppers. They were very good.”
—Gordon Lippe, executive chef, James A. Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, Fla.

“I enjoyed the food and atmosphere best at Columbia and I think they had a lobster croquette that I enjoyed. What I enjoyed most about the Dine-Around
was the opportunity to experience the different restaurants and Ybor City.”
—Al Caldiero, director of food & nutrition, Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, N.Y. 

What was the biggest takeaway from the conference?

“That Asian flavors are very applicable/useful and easily incorporated into traditional American cuisine for added flavor and variety.”
—Rich Burlingame, director of nutrition services, Great River Medical Center, West Burlington, Iowa

“That, as food professionals, we owe it to our clients, customers and the community to help educate, explore and experiment with healthier food options. It might be a long road, but it will definitely be shorter with the current excitement about and popularity of food.”
—Eric Barnachea, executive chef/general manager, Bon Appétit at Marvell, Santa Clara, Calif.

“The versatility and power of raisins. I enjoyed Dr. Painter and his talks, as well as the informal interactive atmosphere of the entire conference. Many times you can get lost at a conference and not really have a chance to engage others.”
—Al Caldiero 

What’s something you learned from a colleague at the conference?

“Most of the people I met were from opposite regions of the United States and from different sectors of the food industry. But it was nice to see that everyone had the same passion and integrity for quality work.”
—Eric Barnachea

“I was able to bring back the opportunity to partner with the app MyFitnessPal. We have already reached out to them and are looking at some form of collaboration.”
—Al Caldiero

“Personally I learned a lot about how other hospitals are doing their room service deliveries and how they are making it work.”
—Jill Hanscom, R.D., associate director, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J.