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MenuDirections 2013 Day 3: World Cuisines and Menu Trends

The final day of the conference featured tastes from around the globe and a look at upcoming menu trends.

On the final day of MenuDirections 2013, the conference brought back the popular World Cuisines sessions, which this year focused on Cuban & Caribbean, Regional Italian and New American. The conference closed with a general session from Mark DiDomenico, director of business development for Datassential, on menu trends.

Chef Lorenzo Boni, executive chef for Barilla America Inc., discusses what distinguishes the pasta cookery of the North, South and Central parts of Italy during the Regional Italian session.

The New Twist on American session focuses on gastropub food that is becoming increasingly popular in restaurants. Chef Andrew Hunter, corporate chef for Kikkoman Sales USA, talked about how operators could use unconventional sauces, like wasabi cream sauce, on American favorites to elevate the flavor.

Attendees taste some of Kikkoman's sauces as Chef Hunter discusses their applications.

Chef Hunter prepares wasabi macaroni and cheese and Korean fried chicken to illustrate how delicious gastropub fare can be.

During the Cuban & Caribbean session, Jorge Cespedes, research & development chef for FoodIQ, and Cari Price, corporate chef for FoodIQ, presented alongside Erik Henry, director of foodservice for Bush Brothers & Co., on how beans are integrated into this popular cuisine.

Chef Cespedes shows off his Moros y Cristianos (rice and beans from Cuba), which Cespedes says he likes to serve with a fried egg on top, making it a great option for late night.

Fernando Acuna, director of food and nutrition, volunteer services and valet services at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, won the sixth annual Steal This Idea contest, sponsored by Simplot. Acuna won an iPad mini. See Acuna’s idea below.

The most difficult time for any family in a hospital is waiting for a loved one to inevitably pass. Keeping this in mind, we provide comfort carts. We deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner to the patient’s room. The family can focus on being with their loved one without worrying about leaving for meals. Caring for the patient’s family at this time is an important expression and a huge success for our organization. We extend compassion and caring beyond the typical hospital setting, and the families are deeply appreciative.

Mark DiDomenico of Datassential talks menu trends with attendees. DiDomenico said that the menu Watch List for 2013 includes charcuterie, pickled foods, maple, smoked cheese, poutine, grits and craft ice cream.

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