Kraft Works winners share their best takeaways from Worlds of Flavor®
Known for its jubilant celebration of flavor discovery and its predilection for calling out emerging food trends, The Culinary Institute of America's Worlds of Flavor is one of our industry's most intensive conferences. "Kitchens Connected" was this year's theme, tying together creativity, information technology, culinary science and Millennial appetites. "Being with chefs from all over the world who are experts in their cuisines was energizing," says Aliza Katz, corporate executive chef, Kraft Foodservice. "It was interesting to see that at a conference filled with amazing, intricate food, the longest line for a tasting was for Chef Lee's fried chicken." Indeed, Edward Lee, chef/owner at Louisville's 610 Magnolia, combined a Filipino adobo with a Southern buttermilk dredge to create a line-worthy fried chicken. For Barry Miles, senior corporate chef, Kraft Foodservice, the highlight came on the first day: "Walking into the main kitchen at the CIA and seeing all of these great chefs working side by side on their unique dishes—the vibe was incredible."
Our Kraft Works Worlds of Flavor sweepstakes sent these lucky winners to Napa Valley for five days. The prize included airfare, hotel and conference fee. After a whirlwind of cooking demos, breakout sessions and elbow-rubbing with some of the world's greatest chefs, we asked them to share their insights on this unique conference.
Daniel Alexopoulos, Chef/Owner
I need to be a lot more active on social media to attract Millennials. I'm going to start Instagramming, and I'm also going to get onto Twitter. The conference speakers made a great case for how these can help you connect with both your diners and potential diners.
Another Business Takeaway
I attended a great kitchen demo on Mexican moles. I make a dark-beer mole for my mussels and one for our Taphouse wings. I learned that you can build onto a mole, like a yeast starter. I've been tossing it out after a few days. That will save on food and labor for me, as well as deepen the flavor of the mole.
Vaughn L. Vargus, C.E.C., C.C.A., Senior Executive Chef
I came away with a broader vision of global foods. Lots of demonstrations showcased foraging, growing food, and connecting the kitchen to your immediate surroundings. That was inspiring.
I got a lot of out of a kitchen demo on Nordic cuisine, of all things. And I came away with fresh ideas on vegetarian preparations, which are particularly important to my demographic.
Terry Paukstat, Food & Beverage Manager
- Hilton Garden Inn, Calgary, Alberta
- Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus catering and room service
- Annual sales are $1.5 million
- Kraft products she relies on:
Kraft Dressings, Philadelphia Cream Cheese
The conference opened my horizons to what's available and what's possible. I was fascinated by the Peruvian chef's demo on ceviche. He talked about tiger's milk [fish juice, lime juice, onion, chili, salt and pepper], which they use as a base for ceviches and for other dishes.
I got a lot out of the sessions that dealt with understanding and marketing to Millennials. They want to be a part of a dining narrative. It's all about connection and interaction for them.
Conference attendees weighed in on emerging trends, both scrawling them on a chalkboard and relaying them via social media. Cuisine call-outs included: Filipino, Peruvian, Burmese and Turkish. "I would add Indian to that list," says Freeman Moser III, senior executive chef for Kraft Foodservice. "I see the flavors and ingredients of India taking shape here—more authentic curries, the use of yogurt and legumes, as well as wonderful flatbreads."