This year’s Research Chefs Association (RCA) Annual Conference, held in Denver, Colorado, proved to be another great year of education, trend presentations, networking and tasting. We got to meet both new friends and old, and in fact, we kicked off the event by sponsoring the opening reception where we served Denver Poutine along with a Brazilian cocktail.
Denver Poutine and Basil Caipirinha Cocktail
Poutine originates in Canada and is a dish made with cheese curds and French fries, then topped with light brown gravy. Celebrating 2016 trends such as the authenticity of flavors, the global palate, distinctive flavors and back-to-basics, Symrise chefs re-defined the Poutine as a Gourmet dish with intense, rich flavors and authentic ingredients. The dish was a reflection of one of Symrise's Top Trends for 2016, Gourmet Junk - in which classic simple "junk" foods like hot dogs and cheeseburgers are taken to a new level with gourmet ingredients and preparations. We used potatoes and cheese curds, smothered with Denver's beloved Chili Verde sauce, and we incorporated the dish with natural Symrise flavors including Diana Lime Juice Powder, Natural Flavor Roasted Green Chili Type and Natural Lime.
For our unique Basil Caipirinha Cocktail, the Symrise beverage lab re-invented the classic Brazilian Caipirinha with ingredients such as Cachaça, sugar and lime and instead used a neutral alcohol base along with Symrise Natural Lime-Mint Flavor WONF, Natural Cachaça Type Flavor and Natural Basil Extract.
Conference Themes and Presentations
What is the future of food? One very important theme covered was the concept of clean labeling and with that, transparency, along with an elevation of simplicity. Research chefs are responding to the desires of consumers and diners to authentic flavors and global flavors.
The keynote speaker conveying these messages was Top Chef Finalist, Restaurant Owner and Author, Brian Voltaggio.
Chef Voltaggio, who recently participated in a Symrise roundtable discussion on innovation, did an on-stage cooking demo in which he prepared a three-course meal that featured a savory porridge, fermented ingredients, center of the plate vegetables, smoke flavors and an all-white frozen vanilla dessert prepared with liquid nitrogen.
Campbell's Soup presented their 2016 Trendscape featuring trends like Veg 2.0, Traditional Fats, Asian Noodle Soups, Cooking with Fire and French Revival.
Gordon Food Service presented their "Flavor Trends at Street Level" report for 2016. Many of the elements of this presentation reflected Chef Voltaggio’s messaging including “Vegetables Take Center Stage.” The vegetable trend includes "vegetable toasts" and "crudité bouquets." Gordon Food Service also talked about the "Raw Power" trend which included new takes on tartare and poke.
Overall, the RCA Annual Conference and Culinology® Expo was a great event. We especially enjoyed having the opportunity to engage with chefs and culinary professionals from throughout the industry as well as learning new technical skills, food trends and important consumer insights.
For a closer look at the conference, be sure to view our 2016 RCA photo recap below: