chefs

MenuDirections 2013: A Seat at the Judge’s Table

It was my great luck to be in Tampa, Florida, from March 3-5 to attend MenuDirections 2013. This much anticipated conference for non-commercial operators includes a stellar lineup of speakers, workshops, chef demos and more. But I was luckier still to be asked to be one of five judges for the first-ever Culinary Competition.

Cooking (and almost cussin') with Chef Jet Tila

Celebrity chef Jet Tila demonstrated the ease of removing calories, fat and salt from popular dishes during a cooking demo at MenuDirections, but not all of his instruction can be revealed here, this being a family blog.

This weekend, the FoodService Director crew heads to Tampa Fla., for the 11th annual MenuDirections conference. After months of preparation, we're ready to offer more than 130 operators a taste of Healthy Flavors, Healthy Profits.

When Carrie Beegle, foodservice director for Cloverleaf Local School District in Lodi, Ohio, came to Cloverleaf she wanted a way to engage the parents and children in her district, so she created the Tot Chef cooking program. 

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.

FSD talked with chefs from five school districts about upcoming trends, challenges and meeting the new meal regs.

I was lucky enough to make the trip to Amherst, Mass., this week for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst-hosted Best Campus Food event. Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary services, and his dining team invited five of The Princeton Review’s top 10 campus food departments to come to UMass and put on a special event.

Well, the first day of MenuDirections 2012, in Charleston, S.C., is in the book, and it went off without a hitch. From a lunch with foods prepared by nearly 20 sponsors to a Dine-Around at three of Charleston’s best-known restaurants, our 150 operator attendees were treated to one culinary delight after another.

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.

Dear readers: How did you spend your Labor Day? Picnic? Party? Laze the day away at the beach? Veg out in front of the TV watching sports?

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