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Wheat Foods Council Hosts Culinary Institute of America Chefs
Minnesota Ag Connection - 04/19/2018

The Wheat Foods Council (WFC) hosted a hands-on workshop for chefs from major restaurant chains and prominent restaurants across the U.S. at the renowned Culinary Institute of America (CIA). The event focused on the versatility of wheat foods and was led by Certified Master Chef Brad Barnes at the Copia campus in Napa, Calif. The hands-on workshop included brainstorming new recipe ideas to create over two dozen dishes and two great lunches.

The goals of the workshop were to provide networking time with the chefs, discuss food trends, look for ways in which WFC can help chefs in their menu program, and continue building relationships with CIA, the premier chef training school in the country.

The impacts of the event were very positive and wide reaching with great feedback from the participants. They appreciated the opportunity to have a Master Chef lead them through this two day workshop and the opportunity to get away from "the office" to explore new menu possibilities. They enjoyed both the presentations and spending two days working side-by-side in the kitchen, plus, the chance to build new relationships with this group of accomplished chefs through group meals. They all came away saying they were taking lots of new ideas back with them. Which for WFC, was the point of the event.

One of the most important outcomes of the event was that they walked away knowing that the WFC and its members were a new resource for them. Scott Uehlein, vice president of product innovation and development for Sonic, specifically mentioned how much he appreciated WFC's agnostic approach where he could reach out to WFC knowing they weren't trying to "sell him anything". In fact, after the event, he reached out for help on two issues Sonic was facing. Several of the others including Wendy's, expressed interest in talking further on how WFC and they could work together in the future.

The CIA event was an invaluable program activity for the WFC. Promoting new and exciting recipes and wheat food ideas to chefs directly responsible for menu decisions will have wide and continuous benefits to our industry.

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