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Past/Upcoming Regional Events

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New England Region - NEIFT Suppliers Expo

The North East IFT (NEIFT) Section Suppliers Expo, on May 15th, included some New England Region of RCA interaction.  The NEIFT, which does a great job attracting over 100 suppliers to their expo graciously allowed the New England Region to have an information booth during the Expo, as they have for several years now.  We had over 40 people stop by our booth and we raffled off 3 donated student RCA membership to students from UMass Food Science, U Maine Food Science and Johnson & Wales University. 

The New England Region was also pleased to provide the Headline speaker for the technical sessions earlier in the day.  The topic was “Sustainable By Design: Create Value for your Business and Customers.” Sustainability is a buzzword that we hear quite often today, but what does it really mean in today’s food marketplace and for your business future? In this session, Bill Shea from Australis Aquaculture, a Massachusetts-based startup that became the world’s largest barramundi fish farm, spoke to the challenges, opportunities, and value of designing and operating a sustainable food business from the ground up. We learned about where sustainability credentials matter (and where they don’t), and key questions to ask your organization today to help them prepare for the future.

Chicagoland Region - Culinology Education in Action

In April, members of the Research Chefs Chicagoland region participated in Dominican University’s Industry Showcase.  Members were invited to review the final projects of Professor Yamuna Puraikalan’s Experimental Foods class.  Dominican University offers a culinology degree program and this event was focused on strengthening the relationship between RCA professionals and students.

The atrium of Dominican’s Parmer Hall was the site for teams of students to display their projects, which involved recreating an existing food or beverage product to meet a new series of dietary and labeling goals.  Students offered guests samples of their revised product as well as an explanation of the processes employed to meet the new standards.  Guests were able to ask questions and offer their assessment of the work. 

The showcase was followed by a networking reception with food and beverages provided by RCA members who are Dominican University alumni.

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Dominican University Students present their work to RCA members.  

Northwest Arkansas Region - Feed the Funnel Party at The Pack Shack

For our first volunteer event, we partnered with The Pack Shack for a Feed the Funnel Party in Cave Springs, Arkansas. Regional members were invited to bring friends and family along to pack meals that would be delivered to families in need through Hope Distributors in central Arkansas. Together, our volunteers back 3,024 meals for neighbors in need. 

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Chicagoland Region - Distillery Tour & Pairings

On a cold mid-February evening, the warmth and good cheer of Culinology glowed in the cozy confines of the North Shore Distillery’s tasting room.  Located North of Chicago, not far from the Wisconsin border, North Shore was the first distillery in Illinois to be licensed since the end of prohibition.   RCA members came to learn about the growing craft distilling industry and about pairing food and spirits.

Guests enjoyed the hospitality of owners Sonja and Derek Kassebaum.  Sonja, who oversees the distillery’s marketing, is also an authority on the history of mixology.  She uses that expertise to create signature cocktails with North Shore spirits.  A number of these creations were on the bar menu for the evening’s social hour.

Derek Kassebaum, who holds a degree in chemical engineering, is North Shore’s master distiller.  He gave the group a tour of the workings of the distillery and a presentation on the science and artisan craft of distilling.  The star of the presentation was “Ethel”, a gleaming 60-gallon pot still.  Ethel was custom built in Germany of hand hammered copper and stainless steel and she produces all North Shore’s spirits.

The tasting room was set up with three food tasting stations.  The culinary teams from Bell Flavors and Newly Weds Foods provided tasting portions of appetizers, main courses and desserts.   Each station was staffed with a mixologist serving a signature cocktail matched especially for the menu selections.

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Southern California Region - Factors that Influence Taste Perceptions

The Southern California region held "Factors that Influence Taste Perceptions" an event in conjunction with Southern California IFT.  It was a great presentation with well over 100 in attendance from both organizations. The presentation included audience participation tastings of fruit, citrus and vanilla flavored tasting solutions or products and was given by Dale Streit, Director of Flavor Development at California Custom Fruits and Flavors.

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New England Region - Second Annual Community Service Day

On Saturday, November 10, ten volunteers from the New England Region processed 19,682 lbs. of donated food products at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Their efforts yielded 16,729 lbs. of donated food, which will make 13,940 meals possible. Additionally, all registration proceeds were donated to the GBFB. The New England Region would like to thank Newly Weds Foods for their generous sponsorship of this event. Check out the photos of this event below.

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The GBFB's warehouse full of donations; volunteers happy at work; and a training session for volunteers.

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