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
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We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
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We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

FSD Resources