Take 12 college chefs from the Big Ten Conference, add inspiring presentations by industry and academic experts, throw in a diverse market basket of ingredients and state-of-the-art kitchens, and great culinary ideas are sure to percolate. That was exactly the result of FoodService Director’s first Big Ten Conference Chefs’ Summit, held Oct. 6-8 at Indiana University in Bloomington. Here’s an inside look at the brainstorming, collaborative cooking and eating that took place—sparking numerous ideas to take back to campus and cementing professional ties.
Indiana University’s executive director of dining, Rahul Shrivastav, welcomed the chefs and presented an overview of the college’s dining program and zero-waste initiatives. Shrivastav and his team arranged for classroom space, breakfast, lunch and well-equipped kitchen space in Read Residence Hall on campus.
Bill Laychur, corporate executive chef at Pennsylvania State University (far right) and Paul Sprunger, executive chef at University of Wisconsin-Madison (center), are shown brainstorming ideas with Jessica Foust, the chef representing Tabasco, one of the Summit sponsors. The other three sponsors were Land O’Lakes Foodservice, Avocados from Mexico and The Mushroom Council. IU Dining also provided one of its chefs to help navigate the kitchen and walk-ins.
The chefs divided into four teams, rotating throughout the morning among the four sponsor stations. This team, made up of Frank Turchan, campus executive chef at University of Michigan; Jake Dietrich, assistant manager at University of Nebraska; and John Gray, senior executive chef at University of Maryland, started with Avocados from Mexico. After a quick demo, they started planning and executing recipes.
Several varieties of roasted mushrooms inspired the chefs to create new takes on blended burgers. Some combined the chopped mushrooms with the traditional beef, while others made a blend with plant-based meat products and ground turkey. Nachos, bao and sausage came out of this kitchen, along with burgers.