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. 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

FSD Resources