June 10, 2014
Postcards from the CIA WORLDS OF FLAVORS® Conference
from Chef Brian Dragos
One of the great rewards of being part of the MINOR’S® chef team is the ability to travel and meet our loyal and talented operators. Call it “culinary physics,” but there’s no denying the creative dynamics you can achieve when you get a group of passionate people together to discuss their theories on food, business and their latest inspirations for the kitchen.
One of the most exciting promotional programs I’ve been involved with awarded two of our top chefs, Chris Maness and Farid Ahmed from Pinehurst Golf Resort, a four-night trip to The Culinary Institute of America’s Annual Worlds of Flavor® (WOF) International Conference and Festival this past November.
Our travel group included Chef Maness, Chef Ahmed, MINOR’S Brand Manager Todd Muller and me. We flew to Napa Valley, California for a truly world-class experience. I say “world-class” because the topics, which featured four intersecting, thematic areas—Information Technology, Creativity, Culinary Science, and Millennial Appetites—included chefs’ perspectives from around the world. The festival surrounded us with other creative culinarians and engaged everyone with amazing demonstrations, food discussions, technique displays and food trend sessions.
When asked about the experience, Chef Maness said, “It was eye-opening to see out-of-the-box trends brought to life in front of me. The benefit of being fully submersed in food demonstrations and food discussions is that you walk away with executable ideas from top chefs.” High praise from half of the duo that powers Pinehurst, which is widely regarded as “the home of golf in America,” and home to the U.S. open—one of the preeminent golf tournaments in the world. Working for Pinehurst challenges Chef Ahmed and Maness to serve up unique and flavorful fares to some of the most discriminating palettes including figurative royalty from the golfing world and occasional literal royalty of the geopolitical kind.
In recent culinary developments, Chefs Maness and Ahmed implemented a new “Farm to Chef” program that ensures the utilization of fresh produce from local farmers. After the conference, Chef Ahmed said that the world-class chefs inspired him to “take food prep to the next level with new and creative techniques in the kitchen in order to stay competitive.”
I hope the next winner will also come from my territory because I can’t wait to get back!