After watching videos and recipe demos, the 12 chefs who gathered for FoodService Director’s second annual Culinary Council Summit were eager to get into the kitchen and start cooking. The University of Michigan, host of the Summit, provided three stations in its South Quad dining hall for the teams, each composed of four chefs. The chefs, representing every segment of noncommercial foodservice, rotated through the stations, creating recipes with the event’s sponsors—The Mushroom Council, Avocados from Mexico and Hormel Foods.
Plant-forward cooking was the theme at the mushroom station, where the teams learned about blending chopped fresh mushrooms with ground meat for a healthier, more sustainable burger or meatball. One group created a blended meatball with a ratio of 40% mushrooms to 60% ground beef and served it with coconut curry sauce over root vegetables.
Also on hand were slender enoki mushrooms, which the chefs discovered could be torn into shreds, sauteed and simmered in barbecue sauce—a plant-based substitute for pulled pork. The result was a slider made with pulled mushrooms coated with chipotle sauce and topped with daikon slaw.
Teams at the avocado station created everything from smoothies to Indonesian avocado toast and a cheesecake dessert, along with several global variations of guacamole. The tropical guac was a blend of mashed avocados, mango, pineapple and candied jalapeno, while the Japanese-style guac included miso in the mix. Chef Brian Wilford, culinary manager for Avocados from Mexico, suggests a guac base of 5 pounds avocados mashed with ¾ cup lime juice and 2 tablespoons each cayenne pepper and salt.
At the Hormel station, flatbreads were a universal favorite. One team prepared bacon jam and spread it on flatbread, then topped it with shoulder bacon, herb salad, lemon vinaigrette and blue cheese. Another team tackled pork shoulder, seasoning it with a sweet-spicy rub and braising it. They then incorporated the tender meat into a roasted sweet potato hash served over couscous and drizzled with poblano crema.
The ideation and cooking sessions were a hit with the 12 participants, as summed up by B&I chef Erik Uhler of Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Mo.: “I have a renewed enthusiasm and creativity to bring back to my own operation. I especially enjoyed the collaboration of ideas with fellow chefs.”
All the recipes were plated in tasting portions and sampled by enthusiastic University of Michigan students as they came through the dining hall during meal service.
Photograph by Winsight staff