A Changing Culinary World Calls for a Changing Skill Set

Oct 10, 2013, 16:51 ET from The Culinary Institute of America

HYDE PARK, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The culinary world has unquestionably evolved into one where chefs need to know how to do more than cook to succeed. From public speaking and political engagement to large-scale business management and social media, the demands upon 21st century chefs leave them scrambling to develop the right strategies for success. The 2013 Worlds of Flavor conference at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, November 14-16, will provide the information and inspiration for today's chefs to add these skills to the traditional culinary tool box.

"Social media has created a sea change in the restaurant world," says Greg Drescher, vice president of industry leadership for the CIA. "It provides a simple and cost-effective way for chefs to communicate with each other, their suppliers, and their customers." Drescher is the creative mind behind Worlds of Flavor, a Napa Valley mainstay hosted by the CIA for the past 16 years. The theme of the 2013 edition is Kitchens Connected, and the conference will focus on technology and Millennial appetites as two of the key thematic areas to examine global flavor development.

Technologies, both operational and informational, have had an especially transformative effect as Millennials—the generation born between 1980 and 2000 that came of age in a highly technological world—start to form the largest customer base for restaurants and food companies. A 2011 survey from The Hartman Group found that 50 percent of Millennials want a social media relationship with the companies and brands they use. Compared to the fact that only 22 percent of Gen Xers feel the same, it is critical for today's chefs to learn how to connect directly with this huge consumer base through social media to grow their business.

Michiel Bakker, director of global foodservice at Google, will moderate a Google Hangout at Worlds of Flavor in which chefs from the U.S. and Europe will gather virtually to show how technology, including social media platforms, helps them find inspiration and connect with their peers around the globe. "Food has been an integral part of the culture at Google from day 1," he says, reflecting a new reality for many companies: developing a food culture is key to the health and wellness of their employees, but also to their creative process, and helps foster a general company culture.

June Jo Lee, vice president of strategic insights for The Hartman Group, will reveal additional data from a just-completed 2013 survey about the Millennial generation's culinary habits as they relate to health and wellness, cooking, and food choices.

Chefs have also normalized the use of technology in their kitchens, going from perhaps overly flashy plating at the emergence of modernist cooking over a decade ago to a current creative stance that lets the ingredients shine; technology is still there, just used differently. Among the more than 60 world-class food authorities from 16 nations who will share their creative strategies at Worlds of Flavor with culinary demonstrations, seminars, kitchen workshops, and tastings are US-based chefs Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in New York and Per Se in California, Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn in Washington State, along with chefs Enrique Olvera from Pujol (Mexico), Virgilio Martinez from Central Restaurante (Peru), Peter Gilmore from Quay (Australia), and Andre Chiang from Restaurant Andre (Singapore). Nathan Myhrvold, the mind behind Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, will offer the conference's keynote opening address on November 14.

Worlds of Flavor is considered by those in the food industry as the "smartest," "most impressive," and one of the "most epic, educational, and inspirational food experiences in the USA." For the second time, the CIA will also be streaming all of the conference general sessions on the Worlds of Flavor website, worldsofflavor.com. An app, launching on November 1, will allow participants to access information, find conference recipes, and tweet or post on many social platforms directly from their mobile devices.

Worlds of Flavor: Kitchens Connected is open to chefs, restaurant operators, and culinary professionals only and will bring more than 700 of them together from across the country and around the globe. A complete list of presenters, more information about the program, and registration details can be found on www.worldsofflavor.com. Tickets are available online for interested foodservice professionals to join with their peers in Napa Valley, November 14-16. They will watch, taste, and learn how we can link together emerging appetites and culinary innovation in this era of global flavor discovery.

The Worlds of Flavor conference is made possible in part through the generous support of our Grand Platinum Sponsor Qualisoy; Platinum Sponsors Chobani, Foods from Spain/Wines from Spain, JETRO, Ministry of Agriculture in Japan/MAFF, and Unilever Food Solutions; and Premium Gold Sponsors Google, Kikkoman USA, and POM/Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds/Paramount Citrus.

About The Culinary Institute of America: Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering degree programs in culinary arts, culinary science, and baking and pastry arts, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. A network of more than 45,000 alumni has helped the CIA earn its reputation as the world's premier culinary college. The CIA, which also offers courses for professionals and food enthusiasts, as well as consulting services for the foodservice and hospitality industry, has campuses in New York (Hyde Park), California (St. Helena), Texas (San Antonio), and Singapore.

SOURCE The Culinary Institute of America