Dole Culinary Camp

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 independent communities.

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.