GMC Breaking News

Jan 20, 2022, 22:09
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WMMB, CAFÉ Invite Culinary Educators to Take Immersion Cheese “Course”

Twenty foodservice instructors from professional culinary schools across the country will further their cheese education this summer as they tour farms, cheese plants and restaurants in Wisconsin, the country's largest cheese producer.

The tour is a reflection of Wisconsin's dedication to grow the cheese knowledge base among foodservice educators who reach the country's future chefs and other foodservice professionals, said David Leonhardi, director of foodservice and education for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. WMMB is partnering with the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) in conducting the Aug. 15-18 “cheese immersion,” which will also include tastings, discussions and demonstrations.

“Teachers are absolutely key to reaching large numbers of students who will influence American food trends and knowledge in the future,” Leonhardi says. “The opportunity in working with these academic leaders is tremendous. And, the outreach is absolutely necessary because cheese—although a chef and patron favorite—is often misunderstood and mishandled.”

As an example, Leonhardi cited the often mistaken assumption that cheese is difficult to fit into a healthy lifestyle. Current research ranks healthy eating and lifestyles as a key consumer concern and trend. Other cheese “myths” he identified include the belief that American-made cheeses are inferior to imported cheeses or that Wisconsin makes only large volume, commodity-style cheeses.

“These mistaken assumptions will be challenged when educators can see and taste firsthand how Wisconsin cheese is made and how the very highest safety and professional standards are standard operating procedure,” Leonhardi says. Wisconsin is the only state in the country to conduct a Master Cheesemaker program, similar to the rigorous master’s program so revered in Europe.

Foodservice instructors who are interested in taking the all-expense-paid tour must submit a recipe that fits the theme “To Honor the Healthy Menu.” Recipes will be evaluated on both taste and health attributes, taking into account calorie count and inclusion of key nutrients. Twenty instructors will be chosen to participate, based on the merits of their submitted recipes. Complete details about submitting recipes are available at cafemeetingplace.com.

“We're very eager to conduct this tour,” Leonhardi says. “WMMB has found through the years that Wisconsin tours are the most effective way to ignite an interest in cheese that leads to continued learning and enthusiasm. We’ve led tours with media, chefs, retailers … but this is our first ever exclusively for foodservice educators. It's about time!”