MenuDirections’ cooking "show"

At MenuDirections 2014, chefs reveal character and creativity at our unique culinary competition.

Here are the four dishes that were created:

  • Team A—Justin Gillette and Steve Pexton: Ponzu Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Sriracha Mayo, Garlic-Wasabi Black Bean Mash and Pickled Plums.
  • Team B—Joe Kraft and Robert Winther: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Vegetable Mushroom Duzelle, Garbanzo Bean and Black Bean Cake, Lemon Plum and Blueberry Compote with Greens Dressed with Wasabi Vinaigrette.
  • Team C—Darla Mehrkens and Melissa Martinez: Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry-Plum-Wasabi BBQ Sauce, Baked Beans with Red Peppers, Garlic, Onion, Sriracha and Parsley, and Creamed Spinach.
  • Team D—Paul Nicolini and Tom Sewell: Pork Loin Marinated in Sriracha Chili Sauce & Carolina Blonde Bean Sauce, over Housemade Black Bean Noodles Tossed with Orange Sauce and Fresh Vegetables.

Earlier in the day, as I was prepping our contestants before they entered the “kitchen,” Darla asked me a question. She said, “Are you saying it was totally random, two girls against six guys?”

“It isn’t two girls and six guys,” I responded. “It’s a team of two women against a team of two men, a team of two men and a team of two men.” And then, to try to lighten the mood, I added, “And my money’s on you,” pointing at Darla and Melissa.

Well, it turns out I was prescient, for it was indeed the ladies who earned the nod from our judges. They received a plaque, free registration to MenuDirections 2015 and an invitation to be judges at next year’s event. Not bad pay for 75 minutes’ work.

But really, our hats are off to all four teams, who demonstrated skill and creativity under fire while gaining 75 minutes of fame, and who undoubtedly took back more than a few ideas for their operations—which is why they came to MenuDirections in the first place.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
staff pack

To keep staff motivated, we locked them in a room together. As part of a midsemester training session, we formed work groups and sent them to a local Escape Room to see which team could play the game together most effectively and escape first. Not only was this training a great team-building experience, but it supported a local new business and gave our staff a memorable experience.

Ideas and Innovation
star employee

Senior leadership meets twice a year to do organizational talent planning for every position from the top down. We talk about who are the potential high-performers, and go through how they can grow. People are your differentiator—you need to take care of your assets, and your assets are your human resources.

Industry News & Opinion

Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

"The students are involved from seed to plate," Executive Chef Frank Turchan...

Sponsored Content
college students eating

From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

1. Expanded dining hours

Late-night options have long been a popular fixture on college campuses, but if it’s too late, students often choose to venture to off-campus retailers to satisfy their cravings. According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend...

FSD Resources