In January, I crossed paths with Christian Crews, a man with the fancy title of senior manager and global foresight practice lead. In other words, he’s a futurist who works for Kalypso, a global innovating consulting firm.
Our cover story in this issue takes a look at the trends Crews presented at the School Nutrition Association’s SNIC conference, and how they might impact your operations in the future. One of Crews’ main points was that while we can’t predict the future, we could influence it. That got me thinking about ways Food Management could make a positive impact on the future of foodservice.
Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. workforce is in the restaurant industry, according to the National Restaurant Association, and as the demographics in this country change, so will the makeups of our kitchens and serveries. Men have long dominated the culinary industry. But women—and minorities and younger generations—are increasingly making their mark. Here’s one example: The annual NACUFS Culinary Challenge was won by an 18-year-old woman named Cassie Kelsch, a chef apprentice at the University of Utah. And I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the promotion of Lorna Donatone to oversee Sodexo North America and serve as CEO of the schools division worldwide.
We should celebrate the diverse faces making up our industry, and that’s one of FM’s brand promises moving forward. We’re proactively seeking those younger professionals, women and minorities and sharing their impact on the foodservice industry.
And we’re also going to shine a spotlight on all the good works you do in your community. From donating leftover food to food banks and campaigning to end childhood hunger, the noncommercial industry is giving back and making a positive impact on the neighborhoods they serve.
When combined, these two prongs make up FM’s new community pillar. In the pages of this magazine and our website, we’ll be sharing the stories of those who are making a positive impact. While we can’t predict our future, we can certainly impact it. And who says that future can’t start today?
In other news, I’d like to point out there’s a new column in this issue. It’s called Stocking Your Pantry. We’ve heard operators—at colleges in particular—are struggling with creating authentic ethnic dishes. The challenges range from a lack of culinary skill or training to sourcing the right ingredients and the right amount of “Americanization” of a world dish. The new pantry section will help chefs and operators purchase those ingredients they need to create a base for a specific world or regional American cuisine.
If you have a standout employee that you think embodies the future of foodservice, or if you are one yourself, or if your operation is making a mark on the community you serve through giving back, please email me and do a little bragging.