The local angle at MenuDirections

Published in FSD Update

FoodService Director's 12th annual conference to feature two Charlotte speakers.

During the past few years, we have documented numerous examples of the whole “locavore” movement, as foodservice operators attempt to reduce their carbon footprints and bring more fresh food to their customers. Call it what you will—farm to fork, farm to table, pathway to plate—the movement is here to stay.

Well, the idea of embracing the local angle hasn’t been lost on the FoodService Director team. We’ve even employed a version of it for our MenuDirections conference next month. Our opening and closing speakers both have connections to Charlotte, the host city for MenuDirections 2014.

Pamela Allison, Ph.D., is set to open the conference with a presentation entitled “What’s Wrong With Culinary Education?” Dr. Allison is the interim chair of The Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte campus. But she is not going to trash her employer; she’s actually going to talk about how culinary schools have generally missed the boat when it comes to promoting non-commercial foodservice as a career path for students and what schools like Johnson & Wales are doing to work more closely with non-commercial operators.

Dr. Allison has been at the university for the past two years and has taught classes in event management and strategic management. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, she has also taught at her alma mater and Syracuse University and has worked for the Walt Disney Co. and Universal Studios.

Bookending the conference as our closing speaker will be Chris Ivens-Brown, vice president of culinary development for Compass Group, which is headquartered in Charlotte. He will be sharing his opinions of the food trends he believes are destined to have the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice.

Chef Ivens-Brown is a native of the United Kingdom, but he has been a fixture in Charlotte long enough to have become a local celebrity chef. He is also no stranger to MenuDirections, having both presented at our conference and served on our MenuDirections advisory board.

Chef Ivens-Brown's passion, besides food, is sustainability, which will no doubt become clear in his presentation. He has made it his mission to educate the foodservice industry, as well as home cooks, about simple and effective methods for cooking and eating fresh, seasonable and sustainable foods. He currently is writing a book on the topic, titled “Planet To Plate: Cooking for Change.”

We thought it was entirely appropriate, given our conference theme, “Satisfying a More Educated Customer,” to have as speakers two people whose jobs are education in nature. We hope that their thoughts will be insightful to our attendees, as well.

MenuDirections 2014 kicks off Feb. 23 at the Westin Charlotte and includes 15 different workshops, two vendor fairs, a culinary competition, our renowned Dine-Around and a keynote presentation by Chef Gerry Ludwig, consulting chef for Gordon Food Service Inc. We’ll also honor our 2013 FSDs of the Month and announce the FSD of the Year.

If you haven’t made plans to attend MenuDirections 2014, there’s still time to register. For more information, go to www.menudirections.com.

Keywords: 
menu development

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

FSD Resources