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Menus Are Changing
by Chef Brad Barnes

As today's culinary professionals, operators and business specialists look to the trends shaping our lives in this business, the effects of food on our bodies is a true focus. On June 10, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the Harvard School of Public Health opened the first Menus of Change Leadership Summit. This powerful initiative will take place annually and is designed to cause change in the way that culinary professionals look at their responsibility to feed the world. The conference dealt with many issues among which the top questions to be answered were:
  • How can we make our most delicious foods healthful and environmentally sustainable?
  • What if America's most talented chefs and today’s culinary students were to collaborate with scientists and business leaders to find business-friendly solutions to our obesity and healthcare crises and food security issues around the globe?
  • How can chefs and restaurateurs work in partnership with nutrition and medical experts, and environmental scientists to help the business community develop new models of innovation—and new, long-term business strategies—around opportunities for the future of food and foodservice?
The initiative is led and governed by two distinct advisory councils, the Scientific and Technical Council and the Sustainable Business Leadership Council. These councils are comprised of some 25 individuals who have impacted the industry through thought leadership during their careers.

Menus of Change is intended to help business leaders better understand how people, the planet and profit impact the way we plan our future. For instance, it is expected that the consumption of meat by Americans will decline by 12% by 2014. In this case one would assume that a prudent chef would begin to feature plant–centric dishes more frequently and follow consumer trends to be more healthful in their diets.

In short the conference caused discussion around the topics of wellness, social responsibility, environmental sustainability and of course, delicious foods. As we look to the future for our families, we must all focus further on these topics and help build a stronger, more vital place for our children’s children to flourish.

Download the Menus of Change Report PDF.