This is part three (and the conclusion) of my recent experiences at Worlds of Healthy Flavors and Produce First. Previous entries in this series:
All of the chefs did a great job on stage, showing us how to use fruits and vegetables, demonstrating the great underutilized flavors from around the world and inspiring us to rush home and start grilling watermelon and pairing it with goat cheese. I left Napa feeling full, and grateful that I had consumed enough fiber, calcium and vitamins to last me the whole week. But what I didn’t leave Napa with was a good understanding on how to translate the wonderful concepts shown up on stage to something that can be mass produced and served at Subway, Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bahama Breeze and the various university food service plans.
How can Applebee’s put romesco on its menu? How can the University of Massachusetts start using Indian spices? How can we put more avocados on any menu and avoid the extra labor costs involved in the peeling and pitting? Who are the suppliers that can assist the executive chefs of multi-unit restaurants to do this?
This was the missing link at both the WOHF and Product First. There was no one to explain clearly and specifically which industrial suppliers can help provide the unique components in an extended-shelf-life form to the multi-units that wish to use them. As a sauce supplier to the multi-chain industrial-dining world for the past 5 years, I know that the chains need to partner with their suppliers to provide them with unique sauces, spice blends frozen vegetable components and specific meat cuts. The bigger the chain, the easier it has to be for store employees to make the final dish.
Where were those suppliers? And who are those suppliers?
Here is my proposed plan on selecting specific suppliers to pair up with the great chefs brought in by the CIA:
- Greats Chefs create their fabulous recipes that they plan to demonstrate on stage.
- The CIA calls those suppliers who can supply the necessary components to make the Great Chef dishes become a reality in a multi-unit chain.
- A blind tasting will determine which company makes the best blend, the best sauce, the best frozen vegetable mix, the best romesco, the best IQF guacamole, etc.
- The best component suppliers win—they get to work side-by-side with the Great Chefs during the conference, showing their manufactured versions.
May the best supplier win—and, of course, they can still “sponsor” the event, but this time, with very directed product demonstrations.