Partnerships

Manufacturer training programs provide valuable learning opportunities for operators.

In my tenure here at FoodService Director, I have had the opportunity to attend two educational programs that were either staged by or sponsored by food manufacturers. The first was the well-known Tyson University, and the second was the Chef Enrichment and Innovation Program, held at The Culinary Institute of America and sponsored by Hormel Foods.

Tyson has been bringing operators in the college, school and healthcare segments to its headquarters in Arkansas for Tyson University, a series of weeklong educational sessions, for nearly two decades. I was able to attend one of the programs staged for school foodservice directors, and I found it to be enlightening, both for me and for the operators who attended.

Hormel Foods’ CEIP event, created about three years ago, offers chefs from all segments of the industry to come to Hyde Park, N.Y., three times over an 18-month period,improve their understanding of key culinary areas such as health and wellness, buying local and world cuisines. I’ve sat in on a few sessions, and even got to go on a “sustainability tour” of the Hudson Valley.

The chefs I’ve talked with who have completed the program have been unanimous in their praise of the experience, and the fact that it is sponsored by a food manufacturer bothers them not one iota.

These are just two of the scores of examples out there of companies offering learning opportunities for operators. Other examples include companies setting up website areas to help customers with marketing, design and display elements and contests to allow operators and chefs to showcase their abilities.

Do the companies benefit by getting their names front and center in the minds of their “students?” Of course. But in cases like these, that is almost beside the point. There is a symbiosis that occurs when manufacturers offer help to operators. Both sides win, and that is never a bad thing. Such partnerships make the industry as a whole stronger and more responsive to the ultimate end users.

Keywords: 
chefs, training

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources