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In this issue of Chef's Stirrings:


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The Editors, Chef Magazine

The Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) has moved its dates due to popular demand - new dates and local to be announced soon!

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Sold-out Crowd Gathers to Celebrate Work of The Organic Center 
It was a celebration of organic: of the benefits to the environment and to our health that organic provides, of the scientists and researchers whose dedicated work advances the organic sector, and of the generous sponsors who make that work possible in the labs, in the fields and in the orchards.

More than 500 supporters gathered for The Organic Center's Annual Benefit Dinner March 5 in Anaheim, California. The sold-out fundraiser, held in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West, this year raised nearly $450,000 for the work of the non-profit research and education organization.

Additionally, almost a million people outside the gala ballroom had the chance to share in the event through social media.

Dinner speakers stressed the importance of the work of The Organic Center in educating the public about organic and the broad and real impact of organic on the environment, on ecosystems, and on human health. The Center now has several critical research projects underway: comparing soil health on organic and conventional farms, outlining antibiotic-free alternatives for controlling fire blight in organic apple and pear orchards, exploring decreasing arsenic uptake in organic rice systems, seeking organic solutions to citrus greening, and discerning the benefits of organic to pollinator populations.

"When we fight for organic food, it connects us to every living creature on the planet, from birds to frogs and pollinators--all those harmed by toxic pesticides," keynote speaker Anna Lappé, widely respected author and educator, food systems expert and sustainable foods activist, told dinner attendees.

Lappé added, "You make history: with every company you build, every farmer you help, every study you commission to prove the power of organic farming."
Chef Susan Feniger, a 30-year restaurant industry veteran, celebrity chef, and cookbook author who designed the all-organic menu for what was the largest dinner event of the 5-day Expo, said she chose specific dishes related to The Center's research--including exotic citrus-inspired dishes in honor of citrus greening research and organic rice-based offerings in recognition of efforts to reduce arsenic uptake in organic rice.

Feniger has long sought out locally grown and sustainably raised food for her menus and has shared the origin of the food with her customers. "I truly believe that the best way to begin to change how people think is to start by giving them information. It isn't just about making sure people have the option to buy organic, but also about educating people so that they understand just how important it really is," she told the dinner attendees.

In addition to the hundreds of enthusiastic supporters of The Center gathered for the event, this year's gala connected with individuals outside the ballroom. Attendees were encouraged to use their cell phones and spread the word about The Center using the hashtag #OrganicScience, sharing their favorite moments with their own social networks and significantly expanding the reach of the evening's most important messages.

Among the most impressive statistics: about 450 social media posts using the event hashtag from 160 unique users reached just under 1 million people.
Event sponsors included Stonyfield Farm and New Hope Natural Media, Nature's Path Foods, Organic Valley/Organic Prairie, Clif Bar, Whole Foods Market, and Horizon Organic, Foxy Organic, UNFI, KeHE, Cal-Organic Farms, Earthbound Farm, National Co+op Grocers, Frontier Co-op, Mamma Chia, and Wholesome!
"This was a very fun and successful evening," said Todd Linsky, chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Center. "We all learned a lot about the exciting and crucial work that The Center is undertaking, while raising needed funding to make this work possible."

For more information on The Organic Center and the science behind organic food and farming, visit

2015 Seafood Excellence Awards Finalists Announced 
The 12 finalists for the 2015 Seafood Excellence Awards, the prestigious best new products competition held in conjunction with Seafood Expo North America, have been announced. Winners of the competition will be presented during the Seafood Excellence Awards ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 3:30pm during the Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America in Boston.

The Seafood Excellence Awards annually recognize the product leaders in the North American seafood market. Each year, exhibitors at the event have the opportunity to submit their new products for consideration. Products are evaluated by three seafood industry experts based on their uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, packaging, market potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality.

The 2015 twelve finalists were selected from more than 70 entries in the exposition's New Product Showcase and compete for two awards: Best New Foodservice Product and Best New Retail Product.

Each finalist's product will be showcased during the three-day event in Boston.
The Seafood Excellence Awards serves as the North American extension of the Seafood Prix d'Elite new product competition, held at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium. Both, Seafood Excellence Awards and Seafood Prix d'Elite, are organized by Diversified Communications, producers of the Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global and Seafood Expo Asia.

View all of the entries into the Seafood Excellence AwardsHERE.

The James Beard Foundation announces 2015 Who's Who Inductees
The James Beard Foundation has announced the five 2015 inductees to the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. The prestigious award is given to renowned culinary professionals who have made a significant and unique contribution to the American food and beverage industry. This year's honorees will be celebrated at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards presented by Lexus on Monday, May 4, 2015, at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

"This year's Who's Who honorees join an impressive group of over 250 of our country's most respected food industry leaders," says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. "Their impact on cultural cuisine, food production and mixology is both substantial and exciting."

The James Beard Foundation's Who's Who is a cadre of the most accomplished food and beverage professionals in the country. Though they represent a diverse cross-section of the food and beverage industry—from chefs to journalists to farmers to business executives to scholars—each has been identified by his or her peers as having displayed remarkable talent and achievement. Begun in 1984 by Cook's Magazine, the Who's Who has been administered by the James Beard Foundation since 1990.

The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees are: 

Allan Benton, Pork Producer and Purveyor/Madisonville, Tennessee
Dale DeGroff, Mixologist/NYC
Wylie Dufresne, Chef and Restaurateur/NYC
Nathalie Dupree, Cookbook Author and Television Personality/Charleston
Maricel Presilla, Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author/Hoboken, New Jersey

During the Awards Ceremony, which is open to the public, special achievement awards will also be announced, including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. A gala reception will immediately follow featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

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