Welcome to Chef's Stirrings, Chef Magazine's monthly news highlights of what's going on in the foodservice industry and chef world. For daily news and online exclusives, please visit Chef's Stirrings blog.

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In this issue of Chef's Stirrings:
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The Editors, Chef Magazine

Alto-Shaam has, once again, gained a Kitchen Innovations Award from the National Restaurant Association. The award, to be presented at the upcoming NRA show later this year, is for the innovative technology in the new CT PROformance Combitherm oven launched online this month.

The KI Award honors the most promising and cutting-edge advancements in kitchen equipment for the foodservice industry. An independent, expert panel of judges comprised of internationally recognized food facilities consultants, multi-unit executives, and design experts carefully selected award recipients to be showcased in the interactive Kitchen Innovations Pavilion at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show to be held May 17-20 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

The new CT PROformance Combitherm oven from Alto-Shaam, making its debut at the show, features a zero clearance design. Allowing equipment to be placed anywhere on the line, even next to open flame. Also, the PROpower™ setting allows for accelerated preheat and recovery times resulting in 20% faster cooking times than competitive models.

Alto-Shaam was chosen in part because of its ability to address today's leading commercial kitchen equipment challenges with advancements in speed, energy efficiency, and versatility to conform to diverse restaurant layouts and numerous applications. Also available with an integrated smoking feature, enhanced cleaning system and menu capacity, Absolute Humidity Control and more, the CT PROformance Combitherm Oven is the most innovative oven on the market. For more information on features and benefits, please visit ct-proformance.com.

Ghirardelli Partners with CIA on Chocolate Classroom 

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, maker of premium chocolate products, has joined with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to open the Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center. The facility, located at the college's Greystone campus in St. Helena, CA, was dedicated yesterday, March 4, with an unveiling and ribbon cutting--with a ribbon cutting using giant chocolate scissors.

In the Center, CIA students learn the science of chocolate and explore how quality chocolate can be used in baking, pastry, culinary, and beverage settings. It is home to the Chocolate and Confectionery Technology and Techniques course for baking and pastry arts degree students at the CIA. The Center also houses advanced education for professionals who want to hone their confectionery and chocolate making and sculpturing skills, as well as basic pastry arts classes for food enthusiasts.
"The rapid pace of innovation in the foodservice industry constantly creates new demands for specialized skills and knowledge," says CIA President Tim Ryan. "This exciting partnership will both inspire students and professionals to shape the future of the pastry arts and also delight chocolate aficionados everywhere."

"The Ghirardelli Company vision is to change the way the U.S. consumer experiences chocolate. All of us at Ghirardelli share a passion for our brand and a strong belief in its potential to connect with and engage consumers in all settings. We are excited to extend our passion to our foodservice business," says Marty Thompson, president and CEO of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. "This partnership offers a unique opportunity to show future chefs first-hand the impact that our high quality chocolate can have on their menu. In turn, we look forward to having these chefs' creativity and passion inform and influence our new recipes and product innovations."

Adds Christopher Eklem, the company's vice president of foodservice, "Ghirardelli is committed to enhance our presence within the chef community. What better way is there than to partner with the prestigious CIA? The relationship with the CIA is a natural fit because their students are the future leaders of the industry segments we serve, such as restaurants, bakeries, and specialty coffee establishments."

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center is centrally located on the first floor of the main building, where campus visitors can see students at work through the show windows. Many items produced there will be available for purchase in the Spice Islands Marketplace and Flavor Bar at the CIA at Greystone.

Food Pioneer Michel Nischan Announced as Honorary Chair of Farm to Table International Symposium 
Michel Nischan
The Farm To Table International Symposium (F2Ti) announces food pioneer Michel Nischan as Honorary Chair of its 2014 event. F2Ti is an annual event that brings together the leading practitioners in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement to explore the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of food and drink sourced locally, and will be held in New Orleans, August 2 - 4, 2014.

Michel Nischan is a restaurateur, award-winning cookbook author, media personality and food policy advocate in addition to his role as CEO and president of Wholesome Wave, a non-profit foundation dedicated to nourishing neighborhoods by supporting increased production and access to healthy, fresh, and affordable locally grown food for the well-being of all. A proponent of sustainable farming, local and regional food systems, and heritage recipes, Nichsan has long been a leader in the movement to honor local, pure, simple, and delicious cooking.

This year's theme, "The Process," will explore the best practices for urban farming, bringing products to market, sourcing locally, sustainability, the latest with the imposing Food Safety Modernization Act, and many other topics.

The August Symposium will take place in tandem with the Louisiana Restaurant Association's 61st Annual Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO, an event featuring related exhibits and attracting food and beverage professionals from across the country.

For more information, please call 504-582-3072 or visit f2t-int.com.

Seafood Prix d'Elite Finalists Announced 
The finalists for this year's Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global Seafood Prix d'Elite new products competition were announced on Thursday by event organizer Diversified Communications of Portland, Maine.

The winners will be unveiled at an awards ceremony on 6 May 2014 in Auditorium 2000 from 18:15 until 20:00 at the BRUSSELS EXPO in Brussels, Belgium.

In addition to the grand prizes for the best new retail product and best new foodservice product, five special awards will be presented for originality, convenience, health and nutrition, retail packaging and seafood product line.
There are 34 finalists representing 11 countries this year.
They are:
  • Surimi Rings with Garlic, Parsley and Cayenne Pepper from Angulas Aguinaga, S.A.U. – Spain
  • La Gula del Norte al Ajillo con Chirlas from Angulas Aguinaga, S.A.U. – Spain Fish Snack from Bornholms A/S – Denmark
  • Paella 1-2-3 Delfin from Delfin Ultracongelados SA – Spain
  • Hotsmoked Salmon for Salad from Hallvard Leroy AS – Norway
  • The Saucy Fish Co. Ready to Enjoy Tomato and Chilli Chutney with Roasted Sweet Chilli Salmon Fillets from Icelandic Seachill – United Kingdom
  • 2 Ficelles Nordiques aux 2 Saumons from Jacques Maës SAS – France
  • Tosago from Jens Moller Products Aps – Denmark Frog-Art from Jens Moller Products Aps – Denmark
  • Kush Organic Mussel Soup from Kush Seafarms Ltd – Ireland
  • Salmon Steamers from Laschinger Seafood Gmbh – Germany
  • 'Simple Salmon' Swedish Style Atlantic Salmon Balls from Macknight Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • Salmon Filo Pastry Pie from Marine Harvest VAP Europe – Belgium
  • Salmon Escalope Saltimbocca Style from Marine Harvest VAP Europe – Belgium
  • Cod Escalope Margarita Style from Marine Harvest VAP Europe – Belgium
  • Herring Spread from N Parlevliet NV – Belgium
  • Ocean Beauty Wild Salmon Jerky Original Flavor – Ocean Beauty Seafoods – United States
  • Fish Fusion from Pickenpack Europe – Germany
  • Coffret Plateau de Fruits de Mer from SAS Kermaree – France
  • Double Dippers Crayfish Carnivale from The Big Prawn Co. Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • BIG&SNACK Fish in Chips with a Pea Puree and Malt Vinegar Chipped Potato Crumb from The Big Prawn Co. Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • BIG&SNACK King Prawn Scotch Egg from The Big Prawn Co. Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • King Prawn 'Hunger Busters' from The Big Prawn Co. Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • Double Dippers Prawn Curry Club from The Big Prawn Co. Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • Double Dippers Prawn Cracker from The Big Prawn Co. Ltd. – United Kingdom
  • Ship's Biscuits from The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company Ltd. – United Kingdom – Wales
  • Pumpkin Seed Breaded Fish Fillets from Trangs Group – Vietnam
  • Salmon/Shrimp Pastry Bite Selection from Trangs Group – Vietnam
  • Crispy Seafood Filo Flute from Trangs Group – Vietnam
  • Pomelo and Eryngo Baramundi Fillets from Trangs Group – Vietnam
  • Moroccan Chermoula Pollack Fillets from Trangs Group – Vietnam
  • Red Miso Salmon Skewer from Trangs Group – Vietnam
  • Pearl Bombs from Vichiunai Europe NV – Belgium
  • Mussel Powder from Vilsund Blue A/S – Denmark
Celebrating its fourteenth year of honoring the finest and most innovative new seafood products entering the market, the Seafood Prix d'Elite competition continues to grow in importance and prestige. The Seafood Prix d'Elite takes place alongside Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global. The event forms the world's largest seafood exposition, with buyers from more than 145 countries.

With more than 1,690 exhibitors at Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, to be chosen as a winner or selected as a finalist of the Seafood Prix d'Elite is considered a notable achievement.

36th Annual IACP Award Winners Announced in Chicago
The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) unveiled the winners of its highly-anticipated awards, including the IACP Cookbook Awards, Bert Greene Awards, Digital Media Awards, and the IACP Awards, at its 36th annual conference focused on the theme "Connections." Selected through an intense judging system, the IACP award recipients are recognized as the global leaders of the culinary community.

"This year's conference has been a huge success with an unprecedented line-up of speakers, seminars, and activities," said Meredith Deeds, Chief Executive Officer of IACP. "We covered a wide range of topics within the food and beverage industry by providing multiple platforms to learn and interact with industry experts, including an inspiring opening session with visionary chef Ferran Adria founder of the world-renowned elBulli Foundation, while honoring our leaders in the field."

This year's winners include cookbook authors John McReynolds and Leslie Lindell; celebrity chef Alton Brown; and popular publications and online sites such as Food & Wine, Saveur, The Kitchn, and Food52. For a complete listing of all award winners, please see further below.
The 2014 conference brought a diverse group of IACP members to food-centric Chicago, including food media, cookbook authors, dietitians, chefs, food photographers, food marketers, food stylists, bloggers, culinary tourism experts, educators, and farmers. Photos of the awards program and conference can be found HERE.

IACP's annual conference is a one-of-a-kind meeting where the world's foremost food and beverage minds convene for unrivaled educational experiences and knowledge sharing to create connections with people, places, and information through shared experiences such as culinary tours, cooking classes, as well as lectures and discussions. The 2015 IACP conference is planned for Washington, D.C. and a call for educational session proposals will be issued in the coming months.

Wisconsin Milk Rings in Spring with New Brunch Issue of Grate. Pair. Share. 
The new spring issue of Grate. Pair. Share. from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is filled with sweet and savory brunch recipes that incorporate fresh, spring flavors and a variety of Wisconsin Cheeses. The issue features a wide spectrum of brunch dishes: egg-based recipes, spicy dishes, waffles, pancakes, French toast and breakfast breads, many created by top chefs from around the country. Readers will also find a guide to building an omelet with the perfect Wisconsin Cheese pairing.

Since its introduction in winter 2012, Grate. Pair. Share. has received more than 13 million consumer impressions. It is published quarterly with full winter and summer issues and special mini issues for spring and fall.