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Best dish, best food porn, best operator: A recap of noncommercial’s big awards this week

Noncommercial foodservice honored its best this week at MenuDirections, Foodservice Director’s annual conference on culinary trends. The Oscars might have surpassed the event’s awards banquet only in controversy. Here’s a recap of that evening’s three big prizes, along with a fourth honor that was bestowed the following day.

falafel waffle

Chef’s Choice Award for best dish
The 50 members of FSD’s Chefs’ Council sorted through dozens of submitted recipes to select the best example of a dish that combines creativity, healthfulness and feasibility for a high-volume setting. The winner: the Falafel Waffle from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a savory item that uses a batter of chickpeas and olive oil in place of the usual sort for a waffle. The baked foundation is topped with the usual ingredients of a falafel, including tahini sauce. You can find the recipe here

culinary competition winning dishes

Winners of the onsite culinary competition
Jennifer Leamons, executive chef at Stanly Regional Medical Center in Albemarle, N.C., and Carrie Anderson, executive chef of residential dining at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, teamed up to win MenuDirections’ annual onsite culinary competition. Each of the five teams was given the same mystery basket of ingredients and the charge of creating a slider and an entree. Leamons and Anderson developed a fajita version of a slider and a Hawaiian pizza as their entree.

sara gasiorowski

FSD of the Year
Thanking the industry for the opportunity to fight food insecurity in a school district where 78 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-rate meals, Indiana’s Sara Gasiorowski accepted her honor with praise for her colleageus in K-12 foodservice. She declared there is no better job to be had than feeding children and putting them on a healthful path to adulthood.

menu directions post my plate winner

Best food porn
Attendees of MenuDirections were asked to post photos of the dishes they sampled during the conference, where eating was an almost constant activity. The best of the food porn was adjudged to be this photo by Patricia Bradshaw, co-owner of the Jacksonville, Fla., independent Harpoon Louie’s. 

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