By Robin Barr Sussman

Calling all flavor hunters: The Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit presented by the Culinary Institute of America is for you! Learn how to infuse your menu with on-trend, craveable plant-forward choices, glean chef experience in a plant-forward kitchen, and tap into techniques from global cuisines that have been plant-forward for centuries. This high-energy summit offers recipes, networking opportunities, a cook-along, and culinary strategy discussions with over 20 experts.
The CIA is offering a virtual series in place of the in-person conference. The 5-week online series takes place each Wednesday from 10AM – 12:30 PM PDT / 1 – 3:30 PM EDT, ending on June 10th.


In collaboration with summit sponsors, the GPF Virtual Summit is available tuition-free to food service operators on a space available basis. “It’s a can’t-miss for forward-thinking professionals seeking to leverage healthful, sustainable strategies for creating flavor-forward food and position their food business for the future,” said a CIA spokesperson.

The summit will present innovative chefs and masters of traditional cuisines from the Mediterranean and Asia, across the United States, and sector experts from full-service restaurants to contract foodservice. Chefs will include those whose work is highlighted in the Plant-Forward Global 50, summarized by The Washington Post with its headline, “The World’s 50 Best Places to Eat Your Vegetables.”


On May 27, Jacquelyn Chi (Director of Programs and Special Projects, CIA, Napa, CA) will present Plant-Forward and the Consumer: Bridging the Familiar and the Unfamiliar. Bill Billenstein and Richard Landau will cover Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly: Innovation in Plant-Forward Sandwiches; and Amanda Cohen (chef-owner Dirt Candy, New York City), Eric Ernest (executive chef, University of Southern California) and others, will present Taking Care of Your Team to Create Sustainable Menus.


June 3, Culture and Communications and Asia Plant-Forward Strategy: Of Geography and Culture will be tackled by Mai Pham (chef-owner Lemon Grass Restaurant and Star Ginger, Sacramento. CA); Suvir Saran (chef-owner American Masala, New Delhi, India), and others. Also panel discussion Spreading the Word on Plant-Forward: Challenges and Opportunities for Media. The final class (June 10) focuses on Plant-Forward Culinary Education and Training by CIA Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Napa, CA, Greg Drescher and include the Supplier-Operator Roundtable: What Does Plant-Forward Look Like in the Post COVID-19 Era.


This new virtual series will be critically important as operators look to rebuild the industry, address the challenges of the pandemic, bring customers back, and design a future more focused on health and sustainability.


Katie Cincotta, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit

The Culinary Institute of America