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

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

FSD Resources