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Cornell’s Miguel Gomez Goes Double Duty At New York Produce Show: Gives Micro-Session On Northeast Greenhouse Potential And Teaches Foundational Excellence ‘Students’ About Global Trade

Miguel Gomez has exemplified the way an academic can engage with industry to share the latest and most important new research with the trade. Speaking at The New York Produce Show and Conference and The London Produce Show and Conference, he has dealt with topics such as these:

How To Capitalize On An Age Of Global Trade: Miguel Gómez Of Cornell University At The Foundational Excellence Program

UNIVERSITY HEAVYWEIGHT PUTS SCIENCE BEHIND OPTIMIZED GLEANING SCHEDULES: Cornell’s Miguel Gómez Talks About How The Produce Industry Can Put Itself On The Side Of The Angels By Reducing Food Waste While Helping The Hungry

The Renaissance Of The Wholesale Sector — Why Those Who Support 'Locally Grown' Should Support Investment In Market Intermediaries. Cornell University Professor Miguel Gómez Reveals Research Findings At The London Produce Show And Conference

A New Hypothesis On Local: To Boost Sales, Sell It Through Supermarkets … Cornell’s Miguel Gomez Previews His Upcoming Talk At The New York Produce Show And Conference

Cornell Professors To Present At The New York Produce Show And Conference: New Ways of Thinking About Local: Can The East Coast Develop A Broccoli Industry?

Cornell Professor Miguel Gómez To Speak At New York Produce Show And Conference On Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation

Professor Miguel Gómez Returns To The New York Produce Show And Conference To Unveil A New Study That Points Out A Path For Getting More Produce Into Hospitals

Professor Gomez also was a Charter Member of the faculty of our Foundational Excellence program, which was launched last year to wide acclaim:

Preview Of Foundational Excellence Program: Cornell’s Ed McLaughlin Leads Blockbuster Academic Cast To Elevate Knowledge Base Of New Produce Industry Professionals

This year, Professor Gomez delivers a one-two punch combination, speaking at both the Foundational Excellence program and on the main trade show day in one of our Micro-sessions.

We asked PRODUCE BUSINESS contributing editor Kayla Young to find out more:

Miguel Gomez
Associate Professor
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Q: To start, let’s talk about the greenhouse research you’ve been doing, if you could give us some background. What’s interests you about greenhouse lettuce and micro greens?

A: It’s very important to mention two people, Neil Mattson from plant science at Cornell and Julie Stafford, director of the food systems groups here at Cornell. They lead a group at Cornell called, Controlled Environment Agriculture. It’s a group that puts together academics like me, Neil and Julie, but industry as well. … We have been working for about two years, meeting regularly with stakeholders about the interest in investments in production and demand for locally grown, year-round fruits and vegetables. It’s also to grow this industry in the Northeast. So that’s why I decided to share this topic at the show.

I chose (baby mix) lettuce and tomatoes as examples because … these are products that are starting to take off in New York state in particular, and in the Northeast, in general.

Q: I imagine this is something that would greatly expand the growing season and the availability of those products in the Northeast.

A: Definitely, because one of the limitations of local products is not having year-round supply. But having production in greenhouses ensures we have year-round availability of these products for consumers.

Q: Do we see consumers interested in locally grown warming up to the idea of year-round supply?

A: Yes, that is exactly why we are doing the experiment. … We run several experiments with consumers trying to piece out the willingness to pay for these two products, tomatoes and baby mixed lettuce, in a controlled setting. So we offer them different combinations of field-grown and greenhouse-grown products, both locally produced and coming from far away, coming from California or Mexico.

Then we use our economic techniques to elicit the willingness to pay…

One of our interests is if people penalize or are reluctant to buy a local product, if it is not associated with the natural way to produce, in the field. What we found is people care about the product being local. We see this, for example, when the product is grown in New York state versus out-of-state -- so for both tomatoes and lettuce, these price premiums are about between 15 and 20 percent of the retail price … We also found that for consumers, they are indifferent between whether the tomato or baby lettuce was grown in the field or the greenhouse. So I think this is good news for the industry. We have the opportunity to have an industry that is able to supply product year-round locally and is still going to be valued by consumers.

Q: Let’s get into the consumer price points. Is there much of a difference in the cost of bringing greenhouse produce to market?

A: I think that’s an excellent point and the first part of the presentation. If you look at the state of the sector today in the Northeast, yes … In particular there are two aspects. First is that electricity in the Northeast is relatively expensive, and we will need more electricity for producing greenhouse tomatoes or lettuce here than elsewhere because our days in the winter are shorter. We have less amounts of sunlight.

With new technologies in greenhouse lighting and systems engineering, there are advances in dynamics and control of lights and CO2, and improvements in light efficiency. We know that light is key in the development of the product. Basically, if we use light more efficiently, the cost of production goes down substantially over time. We are also becoming much more efficient in CO2 produced by plants in a greenhouse. …

Energy is the second-largest input after labor. In the past, if you compared imported products from the West Coast and locally grown greenhouse goods, the ratio of pounds of CO2 per pound produced was almost 1 to 3. With new advances in lighting, in reducing heat loss and greenhouse control, it is possible to have the same carbon footprint. That means more efficient use of resources and lower cost.

Over time, as we adopt the technologies, we are able to reduce the cost of product, as such we are able to be competitive with products coming from elsewhere. It may be still a little more expensive to produce, but the idea is you have a buffer because you have transportation costs from far-away places, which account for between 13 and 15 percent of retail value, therefore you can get close to the cost of production in the West Coast and you can compete with a product that is locally grown, which will be preferred by retailers in both the foodservice and supermarket sectors.

Q: Say more greenhouse production takes off, what benefits do you see for the consumer?

A: For the consumer, there are several benefits. One is a fresher product because from the moment of harvest to having the product on the shelves, you will have less time because you are saving four or five days for transportation.

Second, you can control food safety better in a greenhouse than in the field. The process through the supply chain is shorter, so that helps you to have a fresher product but also is better for food safety, to make sure the product complies with food safety requirements.

Consumers will be happy to consume a product that is locally produced and that is generating employment in the local economies, in this case New York. If new greenhouses adopt these advances in lighting, in more efficient greenhouse production, you are also having a smaller carbon footprint.

Q: We’ve seen locally grown take off in consumer popularity. Is greenhouse production perceived in the same way?

A: No. There are many perceptions from the consumer that are associated with a local product -- higher quality, freshness. We don’t know if all of those attributes are true, but the consumers perceive that from a local product.

What we wanted to test in these experiments was, would consumers penalize the product because it is grown in a non-natural environment? A greenhouse is a structure that is not natural in the sense of thinking of product in the field. The environment the product is grown in is totally controlled.

Combining the local attributes of the product with the fact that a greenhouse system (was used) allows you to have the local products year-round. That’s very attractive to consumers. Even though this product doesn’t carry the sense of a natural product that a “local” product has, it is clear you can communicate the fact that the supply chain is very short. It’s a product that’s providing benefits and employment to the local economy.

Q: Will we need to have more consumer education on greenhouse production?

A: Yes, definitely. I think one of the points of education is the fact that this product allows the supply chain to ensure food safety. That is an important attribute that is difficult to convey to consumers because bad episodes of food safety problems happen only once in a while. It’s not frequent.

You go to the supermarket, and if the product is not good quality, that is something you see right away. Food safety episodes are not common.

So, I think there is a lot of education to be done in terms of the benefits of a product produced in greenhouses, because you can control much better what goes into greenhouses. You minimize the application of pesticides because you are in a controlled environment. You are much less susceptible to pests than you would be in the field.

Q: Are there any other benefits on the producer end that you would highlight?

A: I would say one, in particular in the Northeast… we have a huge dairy industry and this industry is producing a lot of CO2, that is just thrown into the atmosphere. There are techniques and technologies that are now readily available and in the infancy stages of commercialization, in which you can use the manure from cows with digesters and use digesters to produce CO2 to heat up greenhouses. That’s a beautiful system because it’s really a system that’s using a bad thing — CO2 emissions —to produce a good thing.

I think the possibility as an industry is to be more sustainable.

Q: Are there any government subsidies to support the greenhouse industry?

A: In New York state, Governor Cuomo has several programs to support industries that are key to the state, and one of them is what they call “high-tech agriculture,” and greenhouse production of vegetables is one of those. So, there are some programs to support the development of this industry. Now, the nature of those programs is mostly focusing on research, supporting research like what I’m sharing with you.

Q: How would you describe the state of the greenhouse industry in the Northeast now?

A: It’s an industry that is in its infancy. Twenty years ago, it was considered unfeasible because of the high cost of production. As technology evolves, we see, first of all, real investments in production of tomatoes, for example, in the state and in the production of micro greens. One example of this is Gotham Greens in New York City. But also not in the city, you see the example of InterGrow, the Belgium company, investing in greenhouse production. We see interests from agri-business in the Midwest and West Coast, interested in investing in greenhouses in New York and in the Northeast in general.

What I see is that we are in an early stage. It’s like all the planets are aligning, so the cost of production is right and the consumer demand for local product is right. I think this industry’s voice will grow substantially over the next 15 years in New York.

In New York state, just comparing 2007 to 2012, the number of operations of greenhouse vegetables doubled from 200 to 435. The wholesale value is increasing, and the acreage is increasing dramatically. I think these numbers are still very small but are likely to continue growing.

Q: Do you see a strong future for the greenhouse industry in the Northeast?

A: Absolutely. I think this is going to be one of the most exciting developments in vegetable production in years to come in the U.S. I think the costs of production are going to be 

Q: Let’s switch gears to your Foundational Excellence presentation. You’ll be presenting on the reach of the U.S. produce industry.

A: I will be focusing on the global produce industry: trends, issues, opportunities, challenges, and what the implications are for the U.S. produce industry in this global environment.

Q: Why is this topic interesting for new members of the industry who will attend the program?

A: I think this is a topic of interest because today most businesses in the produce industry are either multinational or linked to global supply chains. When you think about the blueberry industry, it was mostly local 20 years ago. Today, blueberry demand has increased precisely because the industry has become multinational, having a nicely coordinated supply chain from Chile to the Northwest of the U.S.

Q: Are there any interesting trade patterns or global trends you’ll be highlighting?

A: Several. We need to look at the demand for growth in the future, and this is going to happen mostly in Asia, Africa and urban centers, not in rural areas. The increasing population is going to happen in certain areas, and in cities mostly. The rural population is going to decline.

This has implications for production because we’ll have less labor available and on the other hand, we’ll have more need. …

The global industry is growing and is going to continue growing because of population, and it’s a challenge in the industry because you have less resources, like labor and climate change. It’s an exciting yet challenging industry.

Q: Explain some of the competitive market factors you’ll be discussing.

A: When we talk about competitive factors, first in terms of supply, we see climate is key, and climate is changing the locations, weather, the types of supply lines. The level of technology in controlled climate agriculture, efficient use of water, energy and labor are also becoming key.

Of course, the cost of product, which has mostly to do with the cost of labor — this is important and changing. For example, the cost of labor in China is not as cheap as it was five years ago, even. These are things that are not fixed and change over time.

In terms of demand, we need to focus on where incomes are increasing, where urbanization is happening so that we have a middle-class population, which are the engines of demand for the produce industry. Also they are demanding fresh produce year-round, and this is creating year-round demand for a consistent-quality product as a condition to compete.

Also, increasing health concerns are an important factor in terms of demand.

Then there are institutions, which I think are going to be an interesting aspect, and even the prospects of new government policies. The produce industry and consumers of fruits and vegetables have benefitted from free trade and products available year-round at low prices. That is thanks to the industry and the way we have free trade, particularly in North America, because the businesses in fruits and vegetable are no longer local. They span different countries. I think things such as the Common Agricultural Policy, trade agreements with Europe and North America, and trade agreements like the TPP are important for the produce industry.

Q: What’s the concern in the industry moving forward regarding government regulations and trade agreements? Is there anxiety?

A: Yes. I cannot speak for the industry because I am independent, but what I see is that trade liberalization, more integration with our trade partners both with imports and exports, opens up opportunities for the produce business, growers, packers, shippers, transporters and retailers.

In the end, the part of the supply chain that benefits the most are the consumers. We have made a lot of progress on integrating markets, particularly for fruits and vegetables. If there is any change from that direction, I think the industry is going to suffer the cost, and I think at the end of the day, consumers will see higher prices for fruits and vegetables, and as a result, maybe the share of the product category in the whole consumption basket may even decline. So those are some of the concerns I have, looking at the industry as a whole.

Recognizing that when there is free trade, some win and some lose, but the net gains are clear.

Q: With all of those factors in mind, what is the global outlook for the U.S. produce industry?

A: We need to be cautious and wait and see what really happens. But what I think is that the U.S. produce industry is a leader in the world and is going to continue to lead globally, because it is huge in production and huge in consumption of fruits and vegetables, when you consider the global landscape.

There is uncertainty, and the industry may have to adapt, depending on what is going to happen. To be honest, my candid opinion is, we don’t know. I think free trade is going to stay; it is not going to revert.

Q: Given the uncertainty, it must be difficult to provide an outlook.

A: Yes, exactly. But I am definitely planning to highlight why free trade is good for the industry in the presentation from an economic point of view.

The bottom line is that economic specialization, efficiency and trade liberalization have increased global economic growth, improved standards of living, strengthened commercial ties and fostered mutual interests. I think that's important to highlight.


Both subjects Professor Gomez intends to discuss pose fascinating issues.

Doing controlled environment agriculture in the Northeast in order to address interest in local is fascinating because it raises the question of what consumers really are looking for when they are looking for local.

If it is reducing the carbon footprint — well, it is not clear at all that this will be accomplished through greenhouses.

And while technology is making greenhouses more plausible, just down the road are other technologies that may mean the opposite. If we can start moving produce via autonomous trucks, that 3,000 mile-journey at 75 miles per hour is only a 40-hour trip… and who says autonomous vehicles will be limited to 75 miles per hour?

Such out-of-the-box thinking is a prerequisite for the Foundational Excellence program, and Professor Gomez’s focus on international trade is an interesting one in a time of resurgent nationalism.

Trade agreements typically restrict the ability of national governments to take action. So if Country A has a free trade agreement with Country B, then Country A typically can’t arbitrarily decide to, say, ban GMOs.

But what if, in a democracy, people want to ban GMOs?

Or what if mutual trade would make two countries both more prosperous, but if one of those countries will use this prosperity to build nuclear weapons, is the increasing prosperity worth it?

The Foundational Excellence program is designed for people with less than five years’ experience in the produce industry — either young people or senior people moving into produce from marketing, food safety or other fields.

You can sign up with this form here.

You can sign up for The New York Produce Show and Conference here.

And let us know your hotel needs here.

Join us for Foundational Excellence; join us for The New York Show; join us in #CelebratingFresh!

Combining Heritage And Innovation, The UK’s Charlie Dunn
Speaks Out On Storytelling And Industry Relationships
At The Global Trade Symposium

Charlie Dunn is scion of a 200-year old family farming business, now called Chandler and Dunn Ltd. Founded in 1809, the 600 hectare farm encompasses 200 hectares producing potatoes, wheat, beans, barley; 200 hectares of grassland and livestock; and the remaining 200 hectares in top fruit – apples, pears and plums.

Dunn has worked full time at the farm for 18 years with heavy involvement in top fruit and he is currently farm manager. He is also the current chairman of the UK’s “Under 40s Fruit Growers Group” and junior vice chairman of the national fruit show.

He exemplifies what can happen when even the most deeply rooted people engage with new ideas. We thought the story inspirational and motivational, and we invited Charlie to speak at The New York Produce Show and Conference. We asked PRODUCE BUSINESS Contributing Editor Jodean Robbins to find out more:

Charlie Dunn
Chandler and Dunn Ltd
Canterbury Kent, UK

Q: How did you get involved with the Under 40s?

A: I heard about the Under 40s in 2013 from some other fruit growers because I wanted to learn more about our industry and farming. The Under 40s trip that year was to Poland. I was impressed with the amount of knowledge and the enthusiasm in the group. Within three weeks of the trip, I changed things on the farm I worked on. I realized it was a fantastic tool because it helps you develop a network.

The group really supports business because you develop not only friendships but friendships that help with business. About 60 percent of our cost with top fruit is incurred when the fruit leaves the farm gate. The Under 40s present a great way to get to know more about what happens when the fruit leaves the gate and is exchanges with the other people involved.

Q: So what role do you play now with this group and what projects are you doing?

A: In February 2015, I took on the chair of the UK Under 40s for a two-year term. We will be celebrating our 50th Anniversary in February 2017, and I’m very proud to be the chair at this time.

For our bi-annual trip, we’re going to South Africa with a very diverse group. We have people from chemical companies, machine manufacturers, people from the London and Amsterdam produce shows, and reps from print magazines. Out of all the people going, 36 are actual fruit farmers and the other 19 are made up of people who support fruit growing.

Q: Can you tell us more about the group as far as its objectives and activities?

A: The key to this group is our getting together encourages a thirst for knowledge. Everyone is talking about new information and what we can do. The group was founded in 1967 by Professor John Hudson with the goal of helping young fruit growers with education and networking. Being a young fruit grower can be a very insular job. It’s quite nice to be able to “talk shop” with other growers or industry members, whether it be a new innovation or an old problem. You’ve got that network and support.

We have a Facebook group and a website, and we piggyback onto other things during the year. We organize informal farm walks where we post that a few of us will meet up at a certain farm to look at apples, or cherries or pears. We have a bi-annual trip abroad every two years. We’ve now gone to Poland, Holland, and soon South Africa. Between those we have an interim trip somewhere domestically — this year we went to The London Produce Show.

Q: So who can participate?

A: As long as you’re part of the fruit industry, in any shape or form, you can participate. There isn’t an age limit. For example, we have sponsors for the trip who attend with us and many aren’t under 40. The sponsorship subsidizes the trip, making it possible for the young fruit grower to come. The over 40 attendees have a wealth of knowledge they can pass down to the Under 40 growers — that’s invaluable. And, the group is completely free to join.

Q: You are speaking this year at The New York Produce Show and Conference. What is the main subject of your talk?

A: I’ll be sharing my journey of how a traditional family farm boy meets the UK Under 40s and is catapulted into a realm of networks and business opportunities! 
I want to talk about the heritage of our family farm — there aren’t many farms of that size and type going on for 200 years.

I also want to reflect on how the Under 40s group has helped me in the four years since I’ve been involved. And, I want to provoke thought on how we take advantage of opportunities currently facing us all. One aspect is branding. Everybody loves a story and with a farm established in 1809, we have a great one to tell; it’s something to be proud of. Another aspect is the opportunities arising when engaging with people, whether they are your peers, your customer or the public.

Q: What would you expect as a result from your talk?

A: While it’s not something new, I hope people will be reminded of the importance of developing a network in your industry. Whether it involves getting to know your customer, whoever you trade with or whoever supports your business. I’d also love the attendees to walk away knowing the passion I have and saying it was a great story.

If someone can take something away from my information, we stand stronger together. The more everybody can work together, the better cohesion you’re going to have in your business and your industry, and the easier it is for everyone.

Q: Do you see more groups like the Under 40s developing?

We want to link with existing grower groups and stimulate new ones. I’m looking forward to seeing what grower groups I meet in New York. And, the first night we’re in South Africa, we are getting all the growers together to talk about how they can form a similar group. We hope to be the catalyst for developing a similar sort of network there.

Q: What do you envision for the future of the Under 40s?

A: Going to South Africa has really raised the profile of the group because it's the first time we’re going outside a European destination. People are saying we’ve raised the bar, and this has raised the enthusiasm about the group and given everyone a drive to do more and bigger things.

If you’re the first person doing something crazy, then you’re considered a little crazy. But, you only need one or two people to follow you and then you become a leader. When we first announced we were going to Capetown, people called us crazy. But now we’ve done it and people esteem us for it.


Here at PRODUCE BUSINESS we are well known for having established the PRODUCE BUSINESS 40 under Forty  so we were especially interested in Charlie’s story.

But the issue Charlie raises is the importance of engaging with new ideas, and establishing and deepening relationships within the industry. Well that is a pretty powerful argument for joining us at The Global Trade Symposium and The New York  Produce Show and Conference.

So come join us and be inspired by what Charlie has to say and come make new and build stronger connections in New York:

You can register right here

We still have a few hotel rooms in the Headquarters hotel, just e-mail us here with your requirements.

Come and be part of something exception, join us in #Celebrating Fresh

Using Produce To Inspire The Next Generation Of Culinary Professionals,
Culinary Institute of Michigan Joins New York Produce Show Program

The Chef demos at The New York Produce show and conference are legion for helping innovate new ideas for increasing produce consumption in the foodservice sector as well as adding color and excitement to the day. This has been well reported in pieces such as these:

Chefs Demonstrate Produce-Centric Dishes at The New York Produce Show.

This year, the program is expanding with, for the first time, four students from the Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) among those foraging produce from exhibitors and stepping up to the kitchen stage to impress the judges. These students will be competing against four students from the Providence, Rhode Island-based Johnson & Wales University, under the tutelage of Professor and Chef Doug Stuchel, veteran of six previous New York Produce Shows.

The CIM students will be accompanied by coach and instructor, Thomas F. Recinella, CEC, AAC, HGT, Dean of Culinary Arts and executive Chef of the school’s Courses Restaurant. We asked Carol Bareuther, Contributing Editor of Pundit sister publication PRODUCE BUSINESS to find out more:

Thomas F. Recinella, CEC, AAC, HGT
Dean of culinary Arts 
Executive Chef
Culinary Institute of Michigan

Q:Could you tell us about the Culinary Institute of Michigan?

A: The Culinary Institute of Michigan is a Division of Baker College, the largest independent college in the state. CIM has two campuses, one in Port Huron and the other in Muskegon. Our Port Huron CIM opened in 2012 and offers three Associates Degree programs: Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry and Food and Beverage Management. There’s also a Certificate in Baking and Pastry.

Q:Please describe your background both as a chef and in culinary competition.

A: I have been in the foodservice industry for over 35 years, starting in the business as a dishwasher and line cook and working my way up to chef. My wife and I owned our own restaurant and catering business as well as ran the oldest private club in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

My career in higher education spans 22 years. On the competition side, I was a member of the New York Culinary Olympic team and competed in Italy and Germany with them. I also served as an adviser to the United States Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT) for the World Cup in Luxembourg. I’m an ACF (American Culinary Federation) Certified Judge and was inducted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque, which has only 100 active life time members, in June 2015.

Q:What is your philosophy of how to train student chefs to be successful in the foodservice world both when graduating today and when working in the future?

A: First and foremost, students need to understand how to be team members; that the betterment of the whole operation comes before themselves. This, I think, is even more important than the hard skills of technique. They also must grasp the business side of the industry, the sense of urgency and situational leadership. We foster these lessons in class and out by involving our students in a great deal of community outreach. We want them to become meaningful additions to not only their place of employment but also their community.

Q:Could you describe the role of fresh produce in culinary education today?

A: Produce-centric philosophies in cooking and health abound. It is extremely important for those of us in culinary education to keep abreast of the trends and directions that the industry is taking.

Q:What do you teach students about sourcing produce?

A: To source the freshest product available and whenever possible to source locally. Also, to understand the seasonality of ingredients and embrace the different seasons and the abundance that comes with each. For example, we instruct students to cook items several different ways without seasoning and to taste them. For example, what does roasting do to a beet that is different than pickling the same beet or boiling it? We encourage experimentation.

Q:How do your students learn how to use fresh fruits and vegetables?

A: Our students work with fresh produce in every aspect of every class. One example of how we stimulate their minds to think about produce in everyday scenarios is to puree the vegetables in the braising liquid. The sauce retains all the flavor of the vegetables from the mirepoix and makes a wonderful thickening agent for the finished braising sauce in place of a butter-laden roux. It is an epiphany for them when they taste it, and it has such a clean light finish yet with a robust deep flavor.

Another example is steeping potato skins in milk before adding to make mashed potatoes with an enhanced and deep flavor. A third example happened recently when our pastry students were in the community teaching how to make chocolates utilizing fresh herbs. These examples are just a few that help students to regard produce in a different light, not just as side dishes or second-thought items, but rather as main items and as a food commodity that can be used for the center of the plate.

Q:Tell us about the CIM students who will compete?

A: All four are in the second year of their program. Jordan Holly, Jamie Cook and Amber Beckem are all Culinary Arts students, and Angela Meija is a Baking and Pastry student. All four are on our culinary competitive cooking team, and Jamie is the Captain. Each has developed produce items as important aspects to their competitive dishes. One example is when Jamie made a potato cup that she filled with a braised chicken mixture. She was required to use chicken for the competition and came up with a creative way to serve the braise in an edible vegetable vessel.

Q:I understand your students have won culinary competitions in the past.

A: Yes, our students have competed and won Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in competitions sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation and SKILLS USA Post-Secondary. Angela Mejia is a 2016 State Champion in SKILLS USA Post-Secondary Commercial Baking.

Q:What are you and your students looking forward to at the New York Produce Show and the culinary competition?

A: We are looking forward to interacting with industry leaders and experts and learning more about produce-centric philosophies and methodologies. And then upon our return to the CIM sharing what we learned with our students, faculty and the community at large.

Q:Finally, how will your students approach the culinary competition. What is the game plan to transform ingredients into a competition worthy dish?

A: Preparation is the key factor. From what I have been told about this event, and everything I can find, it looks to be challenging because there is not much cooking equipment available. Competitions are nothing more than a mirror of real life scenarios in my mind. You must be ready for anything and everything. The only way to do that is to prepare.

We live by two quotes… Dwight Eisenhower's words, "The Plan is nothing, Planning is everything." and Vince Lombardi's words, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." These two quotes hang in our student-run restaurant kitchen. It doesn’t matter if we are in normal everyday service or practicing for the State Championship, we try to live by these two quotes every day.

Competitions should not be special; they should reflect and be an enhancement of the everyday educational experience. In fact, we do not choose students to compete based on skill, we choose students to compete based on what they have done for others. What kind of community service are they doing, are they helping other students who need a hand etc. The four students I am bringing have excelled in giving of themselves to others in a genuine manner and are in great academic standing. That is why they are on our team and coming to this event.


The foodservice portion of The New York Produce Show and Conference is a vital portion of the event.

You can see that in the agenda of the “Ideation Fresh” Foodservice Forum, which you can see here. This program is specifically dedicated to increasing the use of produce in foodservice. But the whole show is focused on #CelebratingFresh, and part of this is admiration for the work of chefs and encouragement for the next generation of culinary professionals.

So come to New York and register for the “Ideation Fresh” Foodservice Forum right here.

And the entire New York Produce Show and Conference right here.

We still have hotel rooms in the headquarters hotel, so let us know your needs here.

And join us in our effort to boost produce consumption in foodservice at the New York Produce Show and Conference.

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