Deep NACUFS Thoughts

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September 11, 2017

I’ve had the honor of supporting the NACUFS conference through General Mills for the past 8 years. I can honestly say it is truly one of favorite events to be a part of. It’s like a family reunion. You get to see a lot of familiar faces and plenty of new ones as well. Most of all you all get the great pleasure of tasting what I’ve been throwing down. You all are very fortunate I must say?

I love that NACUFS conferences are somewhere different every year. It really sparks the creativity inside of me to do something different and try to represent the town or city it is held. Well this year NACUFS was held in Nashville, Music City Baby. We served lucky charms shakes (I can honestly say they were magically delicious), savory parfaits, crunch lab cereal mixes, and the ever-soulful Pulled Pork Sliders with collards (my original recipe says whoopee pies but someone smarter an me changed the name). That’s right, I said it. But I’m not bitter. How could I be with satisfied customers like the pretty people below. Look at those cheesy eating below. Proof is in the pudding.

Chef Ted meeting with customers

One thing I got to do this year was getting out to walk the show. The past few years I’ve been too busy to break away from the booth. Thankfully with the help of my wonderful eager colleagues I was able to see all that was going on outside the GM booth. I saw some cool ideas, tasted a few things, but what really resonated with me was not what was in the showcase but outside of it.

award winner inspiration photo

On my way up the escalator to the conference I noticed a bank of tables with what looked like a bunch of yearbooks from high school with some signs. It turns out these were the Loyal E. Horton Dining awards Contest winners and participants. I was so glad I took the time to stop. These awards celebrate the very best in campus dining from menus, presentations, special event planning, etc. I took the time to go through every and book submitted. By the time I stopped to look at the time 2 hours had past. I must say I was super impressed at the amount of detail and pride that went into each one of those admissions. I was like the paparazzi snapping photos of each cool idea I saw. Had me even thinking about applying to some of these schools just to eat the food. LOL. These kids eat better on these campuses than I did at culinary school.

award winner inspiration photo

Kale Caesar Salad, rabbit mole tostada, mini nitrogen frozen ice cream cones, were just a few of the many, many, impressive items created on your campuses. Clean eating options like a seaweed salad with Ahi tuna had my mouth watering. Tasty looking Vegan choices like cranberry and grain stuffed bell peppers, and Kale pesto with linguine had me even rethinking my eating habits.

Looking at all the hard work that went into each one of your submissions left me feeling inspired and proud of you all. It’s a lot of hard work, thought and dedication that goes into all of this fine work and sometimes it can be taken for granted and not fully appreciated.

Every year I come to NACUFS with the mindset wanted to blow you all the way with what I’ve created with our products. I’m still going to have that mindset, believe me, but I’m not leaving without being blown away by you. Thank you for sharing your passion.

Chef Ted