Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Educational Pop-Up Stanford University | Palo Alto, Calif.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff

College dining has come a long way in the last decade. But a sous-vide, dry-aged steak served with pickled mushrooms and black truffle chimichurri? If you’re a student at Stanford University, then yes. The Chef Inspired Flavor Experience, a new pop-up concept, is aimed at highlighting culinary creativity while giving students a memorable experience. Started by Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) Stanford Dining, the event, held every few weeks, showcases the talents of its award-winning chefs, who present 50 plates, like the sous-vide steak. “The idea is for the chefs to focus on flavor, culinary adventure, and giving the students a fine-dining experience that they may not otherwise have,” says Raul Lacara, Senior Associate Director of Schwab Executive Dining, the catering arm.

“The first event was so popular that all 50 plates sold out in less than 15 minutes,” says Lacara. “The chefs plate in front of the students, giving them the opportunity to ask questions about the techniques, the ingredients, the sourcing and the principles,” he adds. The concept supports The Culinary Institute of America’s Menus of Change principle: “Lead with menu messaging around flavor.” In partnership with the CIA, R&DE Stanford Dining co-founded and leads the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative, aimed at moving toward healthier, sustainable diets.

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