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Who's News in Catering for August 5, 2023

Hot Off the Presses

Denver's own The Easy Vegan was named the winner of the 16th season of The Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race: David vs Goliath" in Sunday's season finale. The Colorado-based, queer-owned business took home a $50,000 prize – which, coupled with an additional $14,000 they won in the show's second episode, the restaurant's owners said they'll use to build a brick-and-mortar store. The Easy Vegan is co-owned by Alexi Mandolini (formerly of Catering by Design) and Taylor Herbert. The Easy Vegan's origins came during the COVID-19 pandemic when both Mandolini and Herbert lost work during shutdowns. The truck, they say, makes "approachable" vegan food. 


Looking for a new series to binge? Think mushrooms. The Mushroom Council® and The Culinary Institute of America recently launched “Mushrooms in the Plant-Forward Kitchen,” an educational video series spotlighting to chefs the many ways to incorporate mushrooms into globally-inspired, plant-forward cooking. This video education series aims to inform chefs about the many ways to incorporate mushrooms into global, plant-forward cooking. This 13-part series demonstrates 12 creative and popular global recipes that offer a powerful solution for chefs and a path to guest satisfaction. Some key recipes highlighted in the series include Korean mushroom bibimbap, Mexican street food inspired mushrooms al pastor, Japanese mushroom katsu, and spicy Indian mushroom and lamb meatballs. Each also includes downloadable and printable recipes for chefs and menu developers. The campaign has reached audiences more than 100,000 times across digital media platforms since launching in April 2023. This educational program is also a part of The Culinary Institute of America’s Plant-Forward Kitchen Training and Certification program, an online training course that educates chefs about plant-forward, sustainable cooking techniques. Through culinary expertise and creativity, the Plant-Forward Kitchen is on a mission to bring craveable plant-based meals to even the most dedicated carnivores. These free videos and recipes will inspire you to utilize mushrooms in the kitchen in new ways.  


Genesis Hospitality is pleased to announce that Van E. French Jr., Corporate Pastry Chef, was invited to attend a prestigious Master Class for highly skilled pastry chefs offered by famous chocolate manufacturer Felchlin. The Master Class will be a two-day, hands-on modern pastry class led by an award-winning pastry chef Julien Boutonnet. Boutonnet earned France's top distinction, one of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF) award for pastry and candy making in 2015. Felchlin offers the course at their Condirama training center in Schwyz, Switzerland, the industry's first training center for pastry chefs and confectioners. In addition to hands-on training, this Master Class offers course participants the opportunity for dialogue between experts, developing new ideas and putting unusual recipes into practice.  Chef Van, Corporate Pastry Chef for Genesis Hospitality, is responsible for overseeing and developing exceptional pastries in a modern way. Genesis Hospitality owns and operates a family of properties which includes historic inns and restaurants such as Chez Alice Patisserie in Princeton and Lambertville, NJ, Washington Crossing Inn in Washington Crossing, PA, Yardley Inn in Yardley, PA, The Peacock Inn and Perch Restaurant in Princeton, NJ, Bread Boutique, Nassau Diner and Proof Pizzeria in Princeton, NJ. Chef Van has over twenty years of professional experience in the culinary arts and specializes in gourmet desserts and jaw-dropping cake art. A graduate of The Restaurant School in Philadelphia, his extensive professional training includes time abroad in Paris, France, training under Chef Extraordinaire Charlie Palmer at the Aureole Restaurant in New York City, as well as studying the art of creating sugar flowers with internationally renowned sugar artist Ron Ben-Israel. He has been featured several times in local publications, including the Philadelphia Wedding Magazine, The Philadelphia Modern Luxury Wedding Magazine, and The Philadelphia Style Magazine, for his artistic and creative cake designs. He was a three-time food network competitor, Season 2 of Food Network's "Cake Wars" in 2016, Food Network's 2018 "Wedding Cake Championship" and Food Network's 2018 "Holiday Gingerbread Showdown." "I'm excited for this intimate setting to be able to ask questions and experience working with other top pastry chefs. It's an amazing opportunity for someone in pastry to work with a M.O.F. Pâtissiers," said Chef Van. 

Products on the Market

If your customers are doing a happy dance in the freezer aisle, it’s because there’s a new frozen pastry in town, and it’s making the gluten-free lifestyle easier and more delicious than ever. The Gluten Free Easy doughs are ready to thaw, fill, and bake whenever the craving for fresh-baked meals and desserts strikes. Go sweet or go savory—the sky’s the limit. Think of it as a tasty canvas for homemade creations everyone can enjoy. Gluten Free Easy is the brainchild of two women who want to bring the joy of baking and eating back to those who avoid gluten but miss the satisfying taste of “real” bread and pastries. They don’t stop developing their recipes until their blind taste testers—who aren’t gluten-free—can’t tell the difference between traditional and gluten-free dough. Some say it’s even better! The Gluten Free Easy line includes Puff Pastry Squares (12/pk, MSRP $14-17), Puff Pastry Sheets (1/pk, MSRP $14-17), Pita (4/pk, MSRP $12-16), and Pizza (12/pk, MSRP $12-16). Gluten free Easy is certified woman-owned.  All products are also certified gluten-free, dairy-free, soy free, and certified Kosher (Kok-K and Babad certifications). All but the pita dough are vegan. And all are out-of-this-world delicious. 

People on the Move

The recently rebranded 30-year-old hotel, San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on the River Walk, and its connected property, San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk, announces the appointment of Chris Stanley as Executive Chef. In his new capacity as Executive Chef, Stanley assumes the reins of all food and beverage operations at the hotels' five exceptional dining outlets, including the renowned Tributary. Prior to this role, Chef Stanley served as the Executive Chef at the Westin Dallas Downtown Hotel since 2019, where his unwavering dedication and unparalleled talent allowed him to navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic successfully. Under his leadership, the North Texas hotel witnessed a substantial increase in revenue. Chef Stanley's culinary journey boasts an impressive array of positions, having previously held pivotal roles at acclaimed establishments such as the W Chicago City and the Sheraton Grand in Chicago. During his tenure as Executive Banquet Chef at the Sheraton Grand, he expertly managed food and beverage revenues exceeding $50 million. In 2016, he ventured to Texas to serve as the Executive Sous Chef at the Sheraton Dallas, marking the beginning of his culinary footprint in the Lone Star State. With over a decade of exceptional leadership experience in both banquets and high-volume restaurants, Chef Stanley brings a blend of creativity, precision and innovation to the San Antonio hotels' culinary team. His exceptional expertise and dedication to crafting extraordinary dining experiences make him a valuable addition to the vibrant and dynamic culinary landscape of San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on the River Walk and San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk. 



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