Breakfast with Champions

WFIM holds an annual “Academy Roundtable” where our members and guests have the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by industry leaders. This year’s Academy theme was “Breakfast with Champions”.  After networking and having a wonderful omelet breakfast made fresh in front of us by the International Center’s chefs, we got down to business.  In three intimate round table sessions, we had the opportunity to meet with the leaders to discuss the importance of Trust, Responsibility and Positivity for success.

Our 2014 Champions:

 

Sharon Beals, V.P. Food Safety, QA & Technical Services, Maple Leaf Foods

Isabelle Hemond, Director, Food Category Management, Starbucks Coffee Canada

Joanne Hillion, Vice President Sales, Food Division, Mars Canada Inc.

Anna Janes, President & Founder, Cocomira Confections Inc.

Rosanne Longo, Spokesperson and Brand Ambassador, Longo’s

Nadja Piatka, President & CEO, Nadja Foods

Maureen Taylor, President, The Ingredient Company

Ursula Wydymus, Director of Operations, Contract Manufacturing, Nestle Canada Inc.

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Our 2014 Champions with WFIM’s Chair, Nancy Klassen, and the Academy Co-Chairs Nadine Farran-Gatti and Mary Jezerinac.

 

Round One: TRUST

 

According to the 2013 Edelman Barometer of Trust, less than 1/5 of the general public believes that a business leader can be trusted to tell the truth or make an ethical decision.

 

People tend to trust two groups of people:

  1. Experts and Analysts
  2. Colleagues and Peers

 

Rosanne Longo shared that “the values of honesty, trustworthiness and mutual respect are the values that our founders built the business on and have remained the foundation of how we do business. As it is engrained in our DNA and such a significant part of the culture at Longo’s, our leadership styles and characteristics include: leading by example, living the values and walking the talk and continuing to treat people the way we want to be treated whether you are a team member, a customer or a vendor or community partner.”

Sharon Beals agreed, and shared that “communication, integrity and knowledge drive trust, and that core values should be honesty by demonstrating, and practicing what you preach”.

Anna Janes discussed how building collaborative relationships with vendors, suppliers, and consumers helps leaders gain trust. A familiar face that ensures two-way communication – even through social media – is a trustworthy one.

 

Round Two: RESPONSIBILITY

From the book titled The Law of Success, “No one may become a real leader in any walk of life without practicing the habit of doing more work and better work than that for which [she] is paid.” Being able to start something and follow through until it is completed is a key to long-term success.

Nadja Piatka shared her story of responsibility to her family when she was a single mother hiding under the table from the debt collectors. She knew she had to get up from under it, and she knew she had to work smart to get there.  She did, starting her company in her kitchen, and turning it into a multi-million dollar company that is now a supplier to international food companies such as Subway and McDonald’s.

Sharon Beals motto is”trust but verify” – let people do their work, and hold them accountable for it. That’s what makes a responsible leader.

The best advice Rosanne Longo has on this front was left by her late Uncle Tommy, one of the 3 founders of Longo’s. He lived and preached the words “Always do the right thing…especially when no one is looking.”

 

Round Three: POSITIVITY

Negative thoughts result in average performance.

 

A great percentage of successful people have all experienced some sort of setback or failure. Instead of stopping their journey at this point of difficulty or failure, they adapted a positive mental attitude about themselves and their abilities, which gave them the power to move forward and reach their goals.

Sharon Beals shared that she is inspired by people who are committed to life-long learning, and people who overcome adversity. This inspiration helps to keep her positive outlook.

 

Isabelle Hemond discussed what our triggers are for negativity, how to identify them, and how to overcome them. Having a family member or colleague willing and able to help you identify those triggers can be a great resource to help you remain positive.

 

For herself and her role, Rosanne Longo hopes that she inspires the people around her by remaining positive despite challenges, remaining grateful every day for the all the good that we have and to look at any challenges as opportunities and find the silver lining, no matter how small.

 

 

Summary

Gaining the trust of your employees, customers, vendors and suppliers, while taking the responsibility and being accountable, and maintaining a positive outlook are all keys to successful leadership.

Special thanks to Nadine & Mary, and all of the volunteers who helped execute an amazing, inspirational event!

 

“Before you are a leader,

success is all about growing yourself.

When you become a leader,

success is about growing others.”

– Jack Welch

 

 

 

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Molecular Cuisine

You have probably heard of Avant-Garde Cuisine, but what about Molecular Cuisine?  Huh?  I knew nothing about this fascinating scientific approach to cooking before I attended the Women in Food Industry Management (WFIM) networking event featuring Chef John Placko at Humber College in October.   And the attendees at the event were either huge Chef Placko/molecular cuisine fans, or had no idea what they were getting into that night.

Molecular cuisine (or gastronomy) investigates the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur during cooking. It is a modern style of cooking and uses many technical & chemical innovations.  Chef Placko shared with us the three key elements to molecular cuisine: modern kitchen ingredients, unique equipment, and precise techniques.

One not so modern ingredient that was used was Sunflower Oil, which Chef Placko says is a great product to use because it doesn’t alter the taste of the main ingredients (The National Sunflower Association was a sponsor for the event – www.canadasunflower.com).Proscuitto with Melon Pearls

Spherification was an interesting technique that Chef Placko used to make the Proscuitto with melon pearls that we tasted.  This process used ingredients such as Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride.

We also tasted Genoa salami with whipped parmesan cheese and black olive crumbs.  How do you whip parmesan cheese?  Chef Placko showed us this Aeration technique using sodium citrate and then placed into a siphon whip with 35% cream. And black olive crumbs? That’s a dehydration process.

genoa salami w whipped parmesan & black olive crumbs

Next on the menu was Sous vide turkey, cranberry foam, sous vide butternut squash, turkey snow, turkey skin crackling, stuffing micro sponge.  This was Thanksgiving dinner “deconstructed”!

turkey dinnerSous vide is basically a water bath, that uses pressure, temperature and time to cook the product. The benefit of this technique was an extremely moist, tender turkey breast! To create Turkey “snow” Chef Placko added malto-dextrin (a starch, usually from corn or tapioca, with no discernable flavor) to turkey fat to turn it into a delicate powder. Once this powder hits your tongue, it’s all gravy from there! The stuffing micro sponge was fun to watch Chef Placko create.  The stuffing was aerated, and then microwaved.  It literally looked like a sponge, and tasted like mom’s stuffing.  The cranberry foam was created using the ingredient versawhip.

carrot ice cream

Finally, dessert. Liquid nitrogen carrot ice cream, white chocolate snow, lemon fluid gel, flexible caramel, shattered raspberry and carbonated strawberry. Carrot ice cream?   It was delicious!  Chef Placko and his team made the ice cream right in front of us, using liquid nitrogen.   The carrot puree he used was from Canadian Prairie Garden (www.canadianprairiegarden.com).

The lemon fluid gel was made with agar and xanthan gum. And the flexible caramel was made with a blend of iota and kappa carrageenan. You see these items on ingredient lists all the time, but who knew what you could possibly do with them in your own kitchen?

Our eyes have been opened, and our taste buds mesmorized! But without investing in specialized equipment to use these techniques at home, where can we get more? Many restaurants feature menus of molecular cuisine.  Moto (Chicago), Noma (Copenhagen), The Fat Duck (UK), El Cellar de Can Roca (Spain), Alinea (Chicago), and Minibar (Washington DC).   Soon we won’t have to travel so far to find molecular cuisine:  Chef Placko is opening his own molecular gastronomy restaurant at the Pearson International Airport!

The next thing to investigate: Molecular Mixology!