Simplot Foods has partnered with 16 culinary and research/development foodservice professionals to form the Top of House Culinary Board, a group that will meet twice a year to gain real-world feedback on foodservice product needs through sharing industry, culinary and operational knowledge.

The board members are (pictured from l to r):

(Not pictured: Jim Chapman, Eurest Dining Services, Deerfield, Ill.; Bob Das, KFC, Louisville, Ky.; Eric Eisenberg, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle; Dick Falcone, Steak n Shake, Indianapolis; and John McDonald, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah)

The inaugural meeting of the board was held in January in Sun Valley, Idaho. The meeting featured guest speaker Grant Achatz, famed chef of Alinea in Chicago. Achatz shared his inspiring story and provided tips for staying successful in economically challenging times. He also spoke about the need to create a personal dining experience for each customer and to connect with each one on an emotional level.

Future meetings will also consist of roundtable discussions, brainstorming sessions and presentations of industry trends where foodservice operators can identify opportunities for growth. For more information, visit