First Day of MenuDirections

A round of flavorful workshops and a fantastic Dine-Around kick off the conference.

Well, the first day of MenuDirections 2012, in Charleston, S.C., is in the book, and it went off without a hitch. From a lunch with foods prepared by nearly 20 sponsors to a Dine-Around at three of Charleston’s best-known restaurants, our 150 operator attendees were treated to one culinary delight after another.

We even got the weather to cooperate with us, as we walked around the city’s Market District for the evening’s event, at A.W. Shuck’s, High Cotton and Fleet Landing. We finished with a dessert reception sponsored by—and provided by—the crew in the Bunge Oils food truck, parked outside our hotel. All in all, it was a fantastic start to our 10th annual conference.

The day began with a small acknowledgement of the fact that this is our 10th annual event. Bill Laychur, executive chef at Penn State University, provided a video remembrance of his attendance at our first conference. As attendees entered the ballroom for the opening session, they were able to view a slide show of photos compiled from all nine previous conferences.

The afternoon’s workshops focused on marketing health, with presentations from Peter Truitt on The Local Movement, Chef Michelle Dudash on Stealth Health, and myself and Dave Zino on Steal This Healthy Idea. Perhaps in deference to the fact that we would all overindulge later at the Dine-Around, the afternoon sessions mercifully contained only one culinary demonstration.

That changes Monday when, after a keynote address by Eastern Illinois University professor James Painter, Ph.D., on 10 Foods for a Healthier Lifestyle, we roll into culinary workshops on Mediterranean, Latino and Korean cuisines.

I have been most impressed by the hospitality of the people of Charleston and the fact that this is quite the food town. I haven’t had a bad meal yet. The hotel’s food and service have been as advertised, and our attendees tell us they have been impressed thus far with every aspect of the conference. I hope we can continue to meet their expectations.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
jackfruit

It emerged as a top food trend on Pinterest’s 2017 predictions, is “the latest miracle food” according to Epicurious, and was called “a nutritional bonanza” by NPR. Jackfruit is the latest superfood garnering buzz, and Even Stevens Sandwiches has gone after the vegetarian-friendly option for a recently launched torta. Here, Culinary Director Brandon Price shares three lessons learned from adding jackfruit to the menu.

Finding the best form

Using fresh jackfruit wasn’t the answer for the chain. It has to be sourced internationally, and breaking it down cuts into labor costs. But...

Ideas and Innovation
hibachi grill cooking

We saw in 2016 that many operators were trying to have some type of display cooking in their food operation. We installed a hibachi grill this fall, and within three months we had 300 residents and guests make reservations. We also use our hibachi grill for cooking classes twice a month, where our hibachi chef Abby Kramer does an excellent job teaching different cuisines. We have received so many compliments that we have decided to get another hibachi grill for a different dining venue in 2017.

Menu Development
brisket beef plate

Just when it seemed barbecue couldn’t get any trendier—it did. More consumers now than in 2014 are looking for a variety of barbecue menu items, according to Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. The demand is up for smoked sausage (+19%), beef brisket (+12%) and beef ribs (+16%) for dinner—a trend noncommercial operators say they are also noticing.

Corporate Executive R&D Chef Jeffrey Quasha at Atlanta-based Morrison Healthcare helped launched 50 Liberty Street BBQ microconcept locations throughout the U.S. in December. Due to their success,...

FSD Resources