AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst is hosting the 14th annual “Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference” for campus food services June 16-20 at the Marriott Center in the Campus Center and Berkshire Dining Commons. The featured guest is former White House chef Walter Scheib.
This year’s theme, “Small Plate, Big Flavor” is timely, with rising food costs, demands for healthy options and the growth of sustainability, says event organizer Ken Toong, executive director of dining and retail services at UMass Amherst. “This conference will provide a forum for culinarians and operators to advance the improvement of great tasting, healthier food choices for campus food services while leveraging the wonderful flavors of regional and global cuisine while promoting sustainability,” he says.
The conference will include presentations by well-known chefs and food experts including top researcher Larry Kushi of Kaiser Permanente, master chef trainer John Ash, two certified master chefs, Ken Arnone and Tom Griffiths, and Jet Tila. In addition, four well-known chefs in their respective global cuisine, Suvir Saran on food of India, Iliana de la Vega on Mexican cooking, Chai Siriyan on Thai Cuisine and Corinne Trang on Southeast Asian cuisine, will make presentations.
Other guests include Elizabeth Sloan of Sloan Trends and catering guru Paul Fairbrook of California. Members of the faculty at Johnson and Wales University and The Culinary Institute of America will share their knowledge and oversee many workshop sessions, demonstrations and the culminating competition.
Toong says the conference’s educational programs have expanded this year. There are advanced cooking classes plus nine small group hands-on production sessions of four hours each to give attendees a real feel of working with famed chefs, he says. The sessions cover various topics that include making sushi, Southeast Asian cuisine, Thai cuisine, healthy cooking, Indian cooking, regional Mexican cuisine, Peruvian food, pastry artistry and cooking in the White House.
Conference workshops will feature Italian and Caribbean cuisines. The conference will also examine sustainability of seafood and will host the popular and expanded ACF-sanctioned hot food team competitions featuring five teams.