Conference Beat™ – Worlds of Flavor 20th Annual Conference, Legends of Flavor, Napa Valley, April 2018

For the past 20 years, this conference has explored culinary frontiers and raised thought provoking discussions on global food trends, food ethics and the responsibility of culinary change makers to educate as they entice consumers with the latest food and beverage sensations. Notable at this year’s conference was the large attendance of professionals from college and university foodservice and culinary educators from high schools on a mission to educate, nourish and capture the imaginations of the consumers of tomorrow.


Trend Watch

The biggest change in the past 20 years is where the trends come from – no longer is fine dining the primary source of trends, street food and traditional home cooking methods are inspiring a new generation of chefs and consumers with accessible and delicious meals and snacks.


Chef Talk

Culture and Cuisine are part of the education on today’s college and university campuses. When immigrants arrive, cultures collide.

The Asian Wave is eclipsing Mediterranean and Latin cuisines as consumers become more aware and desirous of the subtleties and nuances of many different Asian cuisines.

Mixing Traditions defines modern food culture where professionals and home cooks embrace traditional, time honored methods with locally available ingredients.

The Perfect Bite is often curated by chefs with layering of flavors that assure consumers get satisfaction and enjoyment with every bite.

More Ambitious Cooking Methods bring slow cooked flavor to foods on the go for modern consumers.


Food Sovereignty

The conversation of food democracy has grown and expanded with mindfulness by today’s culinary professionals interested in fostering the empowerment that comes from control of food resources for everyone. One Native American chef activist received a standing ovation when he encouraged the audience to rethink things taken for granted in modern America, and the absence of Native American restaurants in a booming farm to table restaurant movement.


Never Just One Story

A panel of media professionals shared a candid perspective on the decline of editorial independence and the impact particularly of young consumers to dig into the back story.  A recent Y-Pulse study showed 79% of young consumers want to know as much as possible about what they’re eating.


Implications – Making it Real

In this non-stop flavor extravaganza, one ponders the question: How do foie gras ice cream and watercress cocktails translate to everyday foodservice?

Surprise and Delight – being fun and unexpected, but not too weird requires understanding of the audience whether it is quick service, fine dining or a campus.

Thinking Drinking – if something is delicious to eat, consider an on-the-go beverage that offers convenience and culinary satisfaction.

Green is Gorgeous – vegetable forward presentations – that are not necessarily vegetarian – offer fresh and healthful appeal across all segments.


Taste Talk Tweet

Twitter chatter included:

  • Cooking is a dialogue shared around the world.
  • Most ingredients in any tradition are borrowed from someone else.
  • Bread is the lifeline of Arab culture and history.


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