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MenuDirections 2012: Day 1 Photos

The first day of the conference offered attendees a slew of healthy ideas and a taste of Charleston.

At the 10th annual MenuDirections conference, held in Charleston, S.C. Feb. 26-28, attendees had the chance to learn how to create flavor while selling health through educational workshops and networking opportunities. The first day offered an introduction to Lowcountry cuisine, sessions on stealth health, local purchasing and healthy ideas and the annual Dine-Around, which took attendees to three of Charleston's most popular restaurants. Click through for  snapshots from from Day 1.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Opening Session, Bill Anderson
FoodService Director Publisher Bill Anderson welcomes attendees to Charleston, and the 10th annual MenuDirections conference, at the opening session.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Opening Session, Mike Ellis, A.W. Shuck's

A.W. Shuck's Executive Chef Mike Ellis gave attendees an introduction to Lowcountry cuisine during the opening session.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Opening Session, Mike Ellis, A.W. Shuck's, Lowcountry cuisineEllis said Lowcountry cuisine is “perhaps the first true regional cuisine,” extending back to colonial days. It reflects “many early influences, including Indian and European,” he noted. Those cooking styles and flavors were further influenced by the West African touches and techniques that slaves brought with them to the New World, yielding dishes that remain the cuisine’s staples.

Commonly used ingredients include rice; corn, served both on the cob and ground into flour or grits; oysters; fried green tomatoes; and “the holy trinity” of peppers, onions and celery.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Vendor Lunch, Virginia Ohanian

After the opening session attendees enjoyed a vendor fair lunch, where they were able to learn about new products and flavors from the conference's sponsors. Here, Virginia Ohanian, culinary services director at St. Andrews Estates North in Boca Raton, Fla., tries out dishes from one of the booths.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Vendor Lunch, Mickey Sellard

Golden Living's Mickey Sellard samples items from the Kikkoman booth during lunch.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Vendor Lunch, Mai Cuisine

Attendees enjoy items from mai cuisine's booth during the vendor fair lunch.


MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Vendor Fair Lunch, Clear Springs

Attendees enjoy the samples at the Clear Springs booth.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Stealth Health, Michelle Dudash

Chef Michelle Dudash, R.D., spoke on “stealth health,” or reducing salt while bolstering flavor.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Stealth Health, Michelle Dudash

Dudash recommended such sodium-lacking flavor boosters as herbs and spices, seasonal ingredients, raisin-juice concentrate, alternative preparation techniques, dried fruits and “pops” of ingredients like sriracha, capers and olives.

For instance, she said, bay leaf and thyme can add punch to any soup, and cumin and coriander are particularly good for bean soups. Nutmeg brings out the richness of creamy soups.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Networking Break, Penn StateBetween sessions operators had the chance to catch up and talk about what they had learned.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Peter Truitt, Local Movement

Peter Truitt of Truitt Brothers, spoke about the importance of purchasing locally.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Steal This Healthy Idea

FoodService Director Editor Paul King took down audience ideas during the Steal This (Healthy) Idea session.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Steal This Healthy Idea, Beef Checkoff

King cited healthy ideas that the magazine has discovered in the course of covering the business. He then asked attendees of the session to share some of their practices. Dave Zino (far right), from Beef Checkoff, also shared ideas about how to menu healthy beef.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, A.W. Shuck's, sign

A.W. Shuck's offers Lowcountry cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, A.W. Shuck's, t-shirts

Attendees were greeted by A.W. Shuck's signature T-shirts.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, A.W. Shuck's

Representatives of J.R. Simplot enjoy themselves during the Dine-Around at A.W. Shuck's.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, A.W. Shuck's

Attendees enjoyed A.W. Shuck's comfortable atmosphere.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, A.W. Shuck's, food

Jambalaya, crusted snapper and crab mac and cheese filled up attendees at A.W. Shuck's.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Fleet Landing, sign

Fleet Landing offers fresh seafood in a relazed environment.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Fleet Landing

Attendees enjoyed Fleet Landing's naval ambiance.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Fleet Landing

The California Raisin Marketing Board's Rick O'Fallon entertains his table with a story at Fleet Landing.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Fleet Landing, food

Fleet Landing offered classic shrimp and grits, a fried green tomato with crabmeat and a lobster-stuffed hushpuppy.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, High Cotton, sign

Also participating in the Dine-Around was High Cotton.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, High Cotton, dining room

At High Cotton attendees dined in a private room.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, High Cotton

High Cotton offers a taste of the Lowcountry in a comfortable, elegant atmosphere.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, High Cotton, food

Attendees tasted off of High Cotton's Charcuterie Plate, which featured housemade dry‐cured sausages, hams, pâtés, mustards and pickles.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, High Cotton, food

High Cotton also served portobello fries and hummus.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Dessert, Bunge truck

When attendees returned to the hotel they were treated to dessert from the Bunge truck.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Dessert, Bunge truck, crowd

The truck served items like pumpkin fritters.

MenuDirections 2012, Day 1, Dine-Around, Dessert, Bunge

Despite cool evening temperatures, the crowd was still up for tasting the treats from the Bunge truck.

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