R&D execs celebrate, strategize at conference

Culinary and marketing experts from top restaurant chains mingled and sampled new products during a networking reception that closed out the first day of the recent Menu Trends & Directions conference.

The event, held at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla., brought together more than 75 professionals, who shared strategies over cocktails and food from the events’ sponsors.

Dishes included poutine-style kettle crisps, an Asian barbecued- pork sandwich with cilantro slaw, a seasonal pumpkincranberry stack, shrimp with coconut-curry dip, and applewood-smoked bacon and spicy shrimp crostini with fruit salsa.

Premier sponsors of the Menu Trends & Directions event were Bush’s Best, Cavendish Farms, Icelandic USA, Lyons Magnus, Sweet Street Desserts and Ventura Foods LLC. Barilla America Inc., the California Milk Advisory Board, CSM Bakery Products, iSi North America Inc., Phillips Gourmet Inc., Sugardale Food  Service and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. were  supporting sponsors.