After three days of healthy eating at the WOHF conference, day four brought us “Produce First” A collaboration between the CIA and Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). This one day event was designed to help “spark the imagination of chefs and foodservice operators” and help them make produce the center of the plate, and not just a side dish!
The day began at 9 AM with culinary demonstrations from Illiana De La Vega, Joyce Goldstein, Ana Sortun, Suvir Saran, Hiroko Shimbo, Scott Uellein, Adam Busby and Scott Samuel. These culinary experts showed us how to infuse our food with flavors from Mexico, the Mediterranean, Asia, Japan, India, and California.
Then we were all divided into teams and sent to the well-equipped CIA teaching kitchens for our hands on market basket experience. A table overflowing with food from the Produce First sponsors provided what the teams needed to create their healthy produce based menu concepts. There were almonds, beans, figs, pineapple, avocados (which Illiana says is “Mexico’s Gift to the World”), peanuts, watermelons, and raisins.
Everyone got to work, the pressure was high and the deadlines were tight. Each team had to create 4 dishes based on Mediterranean cuisine using the sponsor products. At the end of the experience, we would all be able to eat from the big buffet created by the teams, which were lead by CIA instructors and the experienced culinary experts mentioned above.
Stay tune for live video footage of the chefs in action (still in the film clip cutting room at this time!).