We had a great time hosting our 2022 Chef Lab event for our Creative Dining Services chefs! At this bi-annual event, our chefs have the opportunity to hone their culinary skills, gain fresh inspiration from culinary insights, and put their skills to the test through cooking competitions. Here are a few highlights.
Brain Science & Food
You’d be amazed at how involved brain science is with food preparation and creation. Creative Dining chefs learned how to develop and expand their ways of thinking by exploring exciting flavor-mapping options and learning how functional foods help us rest and rejuvenate. Balancing delicious and nutritious food options is core to their jobs, and shifting how they think can lead to exciting new innovations.
All About Avocados
Our friends at Avocados from Mexico gave Creative Dining chefs some great insights into unique ways they can think outside the box to integrate avocados into their dishes. They’re super rich in healthy unsaturated fats and are a great addition to sauces, baked goods, and more. Our chefs also had a chance to put their newfound knowledge to the test with an “Avocado Challenge” where they got into teams and competed to create innovative dishes featuring avocado.
Tracking Food Trends
We work hard to make sure we stay on the cutting edge of the latest food trends and sharing that knowledge between our chefs makes all of us better. Sometimes we bring in friends to share their insights, too. Cathay Holley, the Editor in Chief of Flavor & the Menu magazine, showed our chefs some trends her team sees coming down the pipeline. We’re excited to continue integrating these trends into our menuing!
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the proof is in the pictures. Creative Dining chefs paraded their culinary delights of potted smoked salmon with watercress with Dashi-infused cucumber, almond crème fraîche, and sugar-dusted pastries topped with whipped cream and homemade blueberry compote.
From different types of lighting to editing software, chefs attended a session highlighting how they can make culinary photos truly reflect their deliciousness. Check out Creative Dining’s Director of Culinary Innovation Ian Ramirez’s Instagram account for more inspiration from chefs mastering the art of food.
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Chefs Going Head-to-Head
Creative Dining chefs worked in teams throughout the multi-day event to complete three cooking competitions that combined the various skills they refined throughout the week. From blueberries to a farmer’s market challenge, everyone had a great time, made many creative dishes, and some even took home trophies for winning their competition category.
Educating Our Chefs & Enhancing Your Dining
Chef Lab is all about inspiring creativity in our chefs, building camaraderie, and having fun. Creative Dining believes in the ongoing training of our chefs year-round to create innovative, craveable dishes for our diners. If you’re interested in bringing next-level culinary expertise to your organization, we’d love to hear from you!