THINKING PRODUCE FIRST AND COMMUNITY ACTION LEAD THE AGENDA AT DOLE CULINARY CAMP FOR C&U CHEFS
For generations, Dole Packaged Foods has developed and nurtured deep
roots in the countries and communities where we grow and manufacture.
Essentially, our company was founded on beliefs that are very aligned
with Menus of Change principles. Dole is proud to be a founding sponsor
of the MCURC, and we fully support the MCURC objective of healthier menu
choices through socially responsible initiatives. Recently, we invited
C&U chefs to get a more holistic view of Dole Packaged Foods and
collaborate with us and their peers towards healthier menus.
Executive Chefs from eight college and universities across the US
joined us in July at Dole’s headquarters in Westlake Village,
California. “The Menus of Change vision and key principle to ‘Think
Produce First’ framed our event as we talked about Sustainability,
Social Responsibility, Nutrition, and Deliciousness,” reports Stuart
McAllister, Dole Vice President, Foodservice, Industrial and Specialty.
“Our goals were to introduce the Dole corporate culture and product
line, share our experience and insights on preparing and enjoying
healthier fruit-based foods and beverages, and tour our new facilities.”
A key revelation for many of the participating chefs was Dole’s
beneficial involvement in the communities where we work, in the US and
internationally. Embracing the Menus of Change concept of “we are
family”, videos from the countries where Dole operates farms and plants
drove home Dole’s extensive community involvement abroad. Some of the
tangible ways that Dole helps improve the local social, educational, and
economic infrastructure in these areas are repairing roads, building
houses, schools, and hospitals, and investing in community outreach and
growth. A goal of these programs is to help create self sustaining and
Locally, the chefs learned about Dole’s active support of the Ventura
County food banks which includes product donations, employee volunteer
hours and executive management involvement. Another highlight was a
field trip to Watts for a late lunch at Loco’L, Roy Choi’s new quick
service restaurant that offers affordable, good-for-you options in under
served neighborhoods. Choi and Dole collaborate on 3 Worlds Café,
opening soon in Watts, which is a community based work experience café
that benefits inner city youth.
Regarding sustainability, the chefs learned about Dole’s investments
in soil conservation, biodiversity, water management, and carbon
footprint. More information about Dole sustainability practices are
available at dolecrs.com/sustainability
The culinary high point occurred during cooking demonstrations from
Dole corporate chefs and a market basket where C&U chefs dazzled us
with their skills and creativity. The chefs experienced the high
quality, labor-and-time saving Dole fruit products. One demo in which a
chef diced a pineapple, mango, and apple, underscored how Dole prepared
ingredients like the Dole Chef Ready Cuts line, can significantly reduce
prep work so chefs and line cooks can focus on other value-added work.
And thinking produce first, and using Dole prepared fruits as
ingredients, the chefs created sensational appetizers, salads, desserts,
drinks and sauces with flavor inspirations from around the world.
- It was gratifying to see how these talented C&U chefs we’re
already incorporating Menus of Change principles into their own
operations, and comments like the ones below indicate that they gained
as much from the collaboration as our team did.
- It was very eye-opening to see the projects you support both in Watts and around the world.
- I really enjoyed working with a group of chefs that were open-minded and excited to create food without borders.
- I had no idea that Dole Packaged Foods was so socially
responsible. Thank you for the education, and your fruit products. I
admire the social implications for the communities you support and your
commitment to sustainability.
- Just when I thought all companies were only driven by money and
people no longer were part of the equation of integrity-based business
practices, I was made a believer by my visit to Dole.
- I was amazed to the extent that Dole went to assure their
product was of the highest quality, while ensuring the health and well
being of their employees around the world.
We look forward to hosting more Dole Culinary Camps for C&U
chefs. If you or any executive chef on your team would like more
information or is interested in participating in the future, please
contact Jim Kelley at Jim.Kelley@DoleIntl.com.