Reflections from UMass Culinary Conference

After two days, one comment stands out from all the rest.

During the first two days of the 18th annual Chefs Culinary Conference at the University of Massachusetts, I heard presentations from a number of well-known chefs, researchers and academics. There were talks on street food, world cuisine and healthy dining. Panelists discussed sustainability, health and wellness and customer service. And there was food, plenty of food, from all around the globe being prepared and sampled.

And through all of this culinary cacaphony, one comment stood out from everything else, at least in my mind. One simple sentence resonated with me, perhaps because it can apply to just about any endeavor. It certainly is as true for publishing as it is for foodservice.

The comment came from Victor Gielisse, director of advancement and business development for the Culinary Institute of America. He told the more than 100 chefs assembled in the Marriott Room of the UMass Conference Center that there are but two choices in business:

"You can either be distinct, or extinct."

Now, extinction might seem to be a harsh word to use in front of a group of chefs working in the college environment. After all, very few institutions of higher education appear ready to go belly-up. But if you substitute the word "irrevelant" for extinct, the meaning is essentially the same. Stand out from the crowd, be a standard-setter or an innovator, or find your operation ignored, lumped together with a host of institutions that are "adequate", "satisfactory" or just "all right." In other words, boring and unnoticed. 

Keywords: 
chefs

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources